What is the best practice when implementing equals() for entities with generated ids

If I have a table with columns A, B, C, D  A: auto-generated id (PK)  B & C: combination must be unique (these are the columns that actually define identity in the business sense)  D: some other columns

Now, if I'll create business objects based on this table (e.g. in Java), which one would be a better implementation of the equals() method:

  1. define equality based on A
  2. define equality based on B and C

or, it wouldn't really matter which of the two I choose.


Definitely B and C, because you want the equals() contract to be valid even before entities are persisted. You say yourself:

these are the columns that actually define identity in the business sense

If that is the case, then that is the logic equals() should use. Database keys are the database's concern and should be of no concern to your business layer.

And don't forget to use the same properties in hashcode(), too.

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