Hibernate is a high-performance Object/Relational persistence and query service.The term Object/Relational mapping refers to the technique of mapping data and object model representation to relational data model representation and vice versa.
Hibernate not only tack care of the mapping from Java classes to database tables (and from Java data types to SQL data types), but also provides data query and retrieval facilities.
Hibernate can significantly reduce development time otherwise spent with manual data handling in SQL and JDBC.Hibernate design goal is to relieve the developer from 95% of common data persistence related programming task by eliminating the need for manual, hand-crafted data processing using SQL and JDBC .
Hibernate may not be best solution for data-centric applications that only use stored procedures to implement the business logic in the database, it is most useful with object oriented domain model and business logic in the Java-based middle-tier.Hibernate also remove or encapsulate vendor-specific SQL code.
I used Hibernate 3.6 throughout this tutorials you can download hibernate release bundle fro following link http://sourceforge.net/projects/hibernate/files/hibernate3/
Hibernate stable versions updated up to 4.2 (till today) and 4.3 beta version also released. we will see the advance topics added in higher version in upcoming chapters.