Working with object-oriented software and a relational database can be cumbersome and time consuming in today's enterprise environments. NHibernate is an object/relational mapping tool for .NET environments. The term object/relational mapping (ORM) refers to the technique of mapping a data representation from an object model to a relational data model with a SQL-based schema.

NHibernate not only takes care of the mapping from .NET classes to database tables (and from .NET data types to SQL data types), but also provides data query and retrieval facilities and can significantly reduce development time otherwise spent with manual data handling in SQL and ADO.NET.

NHibernate's goal is to relieve the developer from 95 percent of common data persistence related programming tasks. NHibernate may not be the 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 models and business logic in the .NET-based middle-tier. However, NHibernate can certainly help you to remove or encapsulate vendor-specific SQL code and will help with the common task of result set translation from a tabular representation to a graph of objects.

If you are new to NHibernate and Object/Relational Mapping or even .NET Framework, please follow these steps:

  1. Read Chapter 1, Quickstart with IIS and Microsoft SQL Server for a 30 minute tutorial, using Internet Information Services (IIS) web server.

  2. Read Chapter 2, Architecture to understand the environments where NHibernate can be used.

  3. Use this reference documentation as your primary source of information. Consider reading Hibernate in Action (java or NHibernate in Action ( or NHibernate 3.0 Cookbook ( or NHibernate 2 Beginner's Guide ( you need more help with application design or if you prefer a step-by-step tutorial. Also visit for NHibernate tutorial with examples.

  4. FAQs are answered on the NHibernate users group.

  5. The Community Area on the NHibernate website is a good source for design patterns and various integration solutions (ASP.NET, Windows Forms).

If you have questions, use the NHibernate user forum. We also provide a JIRA issue trackings system for bug reports and feature requests. If you are interested in the development of NHibernate, join the developer mailing list. If you are interested in translating this documentation into your language, contact us on the developer mailing list.