In my little experience with Hibernate, I had to port code from C# to Java.
While doing so I got rid of dreadful data sets and introduced the use of Hibernate.
Having to import an existing database scherma, I used the Hibernate Tools for Eclipse to generate the required XML configuration files.
In my view choosing Hibernate over data sets has improved a lot the existing code by getting rid of tons of SQL that was scattered all over the place.
Plus it has inforced good decoupling of business and data access logic so that it is now trivial to switch over to a different database vendor.
Apart from some intricacies with native and composite keys, my experience with Hibernate has been pleasant,
The only issue I have with the ORM is its slow startup and the fact that it relies on a ton of external Jars (the same reason why it's quite hard to package Hibernate as an OSGi bundle).
For a future project of the same (small) size, I will definitely look at a new, smaller ORM.
Here are some links:
ActiveObjects: An Easier Java ORM
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