The Java API closely parallels the Berkeley DB C++ interface, and to a great degree, the Berkeley DB C interface. If you are currently using either of those APIs, there will be very little to surprise you in the Java API. We've even taken great care to make the names of classes, constants, methods, and even method arguments identical, where possible, across all three APIs.
If there are embedded null strings in the db_config argument for DbEnv.appinit they will be treated as the end of the list of config strings, even though you may have allocated a longer array. Fill in all the strings in your array unless you intend to cut it short. This same comment applies to the curslist argument for Db.join.
The callback installed for DbEnv.set_errcall will run in the same thread as the caller to DbEnv.set_errcall. Make sure that thread remains running until your application exits or DbEnv.appexit is called.
The Berkeley DB package requires that you explicitly call close on each individual Db, Dbc that you obtained or any DbLockTab or DbTxnMgr that you explicitly opened. Your database activity may not be synchronized to disk unless you do so.
The DbMpool class has a small subset of the corresponding Berkeley DB C++ functionality. This has been provided to allow you to perform certain administrative actions on underlying DbMpool opened as a consequence of DbEnv.appinit. Direct access to other DbMpool functionality is not appropriate for the Java environment.
The Java runtime DOES NOT automatically close Db* objects on finalization, whether they be Db, Dbc, DbTxn, etc. There are a couple reasons for this. One is that finalization is generally run only when GC occurs and there is no guarantee that this occurs at all (even on exit). Allowing specific Berkeley DB actions to occur in ways that cannot be replicated seems wrong. Secondly, finalization of objects may happen in an arbitrary order, so we would have to do a lot of extra bookkeeping to make sure everything got closed in the proper order. The best word of advice is to always do a close() for any matching open() call or equivalent.
Berkeley DB always turns on the DB_THREAD flag since threads are expected in Java.
Many methods in the API often have no return type, and throw an exception when an severe error arises. There are some notable methods that do have a return value, and can also throw an exception. Db.get and Dbc.get both return 0 when a get succeeds, Db.DB_NOTFOUND when the key is not found, and throw an error when there is a severe error. There are others. This allows the programmer to check for typical data driven errors by watching return values without special casing exceptions.