How to set the Boolean default to true in JPA?

Java Persistence API (JPA) is a widely used technology for object-relational mapping in Java applications. While mapping Java objects to database tables, developers often need to set default values for certain attributes, such as boolean fields. In this article, we will explore different approaches to setting default values for boolean fields in JPA entities.

Option 1: use @PrePersist callback

One approach to setting default values for boolean fields in JPA is to use the @PrePersist callback method. The @PrePersist annotation is used to mark a method that should be executed just before an entity is persisted to the database. Here’s how you can use it:

public class MyEntity {

    @GeneratedValue(strategy = GenerationType.IDENTITY)
    private Long id;

    private boolean myBooleanField;

    // Other fields, getters, setters, etc.

    public void prePersist() {
        myBooleanField = true;
    // Other methods...

In the above example, the prePersist method is annotated with @PrePersist, which ensures that the myBooleanField is set to true before the entity is persisted. This approach is database-agnostic and keeps the default value logic within your Java code.

Option 2: Use the columnDefinition attribute of @Column

Another approach is to use the columnDefinition attribute of the @Column annotation. This attribute allows you to specify the SQL data type and constraints for a column. Here’s how you can set a default value using this approach:

The disadvantage of this approach is that it binds you to a specific Database dialect. Therefore, the attribute changes depending on your Database vendor. For example:

MySQL Database:

@Column(columnDefinition = "BIT(1) default b'1'")
private boolean myBooleanField;

PostgreSQL Database:

@Column(columnDefinition = "BOOLEAN default true")
private boolean myBooleanField;

Oracle database:

@Column(columnDefinition = "NUMBER(1,0) default 1")
private boolean myBooleanField;

SQL Server:

@Column(columnDefinition = "BIT default 1")
private boolean myBooleanField;


Setting default values for boolean fields in JPA entities can be achieved using various approaches. Whether you choose the @PrePersist callback, the columnDefinition attribute, or object initialization, consider your application’s requirements and architectural preferences. While @PrePersist is more database-agnostic and keeps default value logic within Java code, using columnDefinition provides a simpler solution but ties your code to specific database syntax. Select the approach that best fits your project’s needs and maintainability goals.