DAO means data access object, and it's an abstract interface for a database system. The advantage of using a DAO is that you can hide all details of data storage from the rest of the application. Hibernate as you probably know is a object-relational mapping framework implemented using Java language. A DAO can be implemented using Hibernate or even JDBC. Here is an example of an abstract DAO using Hibernate- http://www.java2s.com/Code/Java/Hibernate/GenericDaoCreate.htm. I am sure that Spring is integrated with Hibernate, but i do not know further details.
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