The Java Persistence API Version 2.1 or simply JPA 2.1 is part of JEE 7 specification which provides and object/relational mapping facility for using the data from relational database in Java based applications. The JPA allows the developers to persist the Java Entity class with the help of Java persistence API. You can use the JPA API to query the data from database.
The JPA is Java based solutions for mapping the persistence with the relational databases. The JPA uses the object/relational mapping approach which very useful in bridging the gap between object-oriented model and the relational databases. Now JPA can be used outside the JEE 7 container and can be used even in Java SE applications.
The JPA consists of Java Persistence API, query language and object/relational mapping tool. If you are you using JEE 7 you will have to use the JPA 2.1.
Here are the main new features of JPA 2.1:
Here are the tutorials of JPA 2.1:
Beginning JPA 2.1
Introduction to Java Persistence API
The Java Persistence Query Language
Using Second-Level Cache with Java Persistence API Applications
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