So, I'm developing some database-driven RESTful Java web services, using Hibernate and MySQL. For testing purposes, I'm using the H2 in-memory database. H2 is nice and fast, so this has worked out really well. The only problem is that populating the DB tables prior to my tests is sort of tedious. I basically create and persist a bunch of objects by hand. I'm wondering if maybe I'm going down the wrong road.
Please tell me, what are the best practices for doing what I'm trying to do? Any tools that could help me? Any general strategies or tips?