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Friday, March 9, 2012

Webservice: Part 1- Create, compile and publish WS using JDK only (No App. Server)

This is 3 parts series as the following:
  1. Part1: introduction to web services, create, implement and publish WS then show the resulting WSDL.
  2. Part2: A Java Requester of the Web Service created in part 1.
  3. Part3: Multithreading the Endpoint Publisher version for the same service created in part 1.
What Are Web Services?

Although the term web service has various, imprecise, and evolving meanings, a glance at some features typical of web services will be enough to get us into coding a web service and a client, also known as a consumer or requester. As the name suggests, a web service is a kind of webified application, that is, an application typically delivered over HTTP (Hyper Text Transport Protocol).

A web service is thus a distributed application whose components can be deployed and executed on distinct devices. For instance, a stock-picking web service might consist of several code components, each hosted on a separate business-grade server, and the web service might be consumed on PCs, handhelds, and other devices.

Web services can be divided roughly into two groups, SOAP-based and REST-style. The distinction is not sharp because, as a code example later illustrates, a SOAP-based service delivered over HTTP is a special case of a REST-style service. SOAP originally stood for Simple Object Access Protocol but, by serendipity, now may stand for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) Protocol.

Deconstructing SOA is nontrivial but one point is indisputable: whatever SOA may be, web services play a central role in the SOA approach to software design and development. (This is written with tongue only partly in cheek. SOAP is officially no longer an acronym, and SOAP and SOA can live apart from one another.)

For now, SOAP is just an XML (EXtensible Markup Language) dialect in which documents are messages. In SOAP-based web services, the SOAP is mostly unseen infrastructure. For example, in a typical scenario, called the request/response message exchange pattern (MEP), the client's underlying SOAP library sends a SOAP message as a service request, and the web service's underlying SOAP library sends another SOAP message as the corresponding service response. The client and the web service source code may provide few hints, if any, about the underlying SOAP.

Figure 1-1. Architecture of a typical SOAP-based web service.

REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. Roy Fielding, one of the main authors of the HTTP specification, coined the acronym in his Ph.D. dissertation to describe an architectural style in the design of web services. SOAP has standards (under the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]), toolkits, and bountiful software libraries. REST has no standards, few toolkits, and meager software libraries. The REST style is often seen as an antidote to the creeping complexity of SOAP-based web services. This book covers SOAP-based and REST-style web services, starting with the SOAP-based ones.

Except in test mode, the client of either a SOAP-based or REST-style service is rarely a web browser but rather an application without a graphical user interface. The client may be written in any language with the appropriate support libraries. Indeed, a major appeal of web services is language transparency: the service and its clients need not be written in the same language. Language transparency is the key to web service interoperability; that is, the ability of web services and requesters to interact seamlessly despite differences in programming languages, support libraries, and platforms.

There is no magic in language transparency, of course. If a SOAP-based web service written in Java can have a Perl or a Ruby consumer, there must be an intermediary that handles the differences in data types between the service and the requester languages. XML technologies, which support structured document interchange and processing, act as the intermediary. For example, in a typical SOAP-based web service, a client transparently sends a SOAP document as a request to a web service, which transparently returns another SOAP document as a response. In a REST-style service, a client might send a standard HTTP request to a web service and receive an appropriate XML document as a response.

Several features distinguish web services from other distributed software systems. Here are three:

Open infrastructure
Web services are deployed using industry-standard, vendor-independent protocols such as HTTP and XML, which are ubiquitous and well understood. Web services can piggyback on networking, data formatting, security, and other infrastructures already in place, which lowers entry costs and promotes interoperability among services.
Language transparency
Web services and their clients can interoperate even if written in different programming languages. Languages such as C/C++, C#, Java, Perl, Python, Ruby, and others provide libraries, utilities, and even frameworks in support of web services.
Modular design
Web services are meant to be modular in design so that new services can be generated through the integration and layering of existing services. Imagine, for example, an inventory-tracking service integrated with an online ordering service to yield a service that automatically orders the appropriate products in response to inventory levels.
A First Example
The first example is a SOAP-based web service in Java and clients in Java. The Java-based web service consists of an interface and an implementation.

The Service Endpoint Interface and Service Implementation Bean:

The first web service in Java, can be compiled and deployed using core Java SE 6 (Java Standard Edition 6) or greater without any additional software. All of the libraries required to compile, execute, and consume web services are available in core Java 6, which supports JAX-WS (Java API for XML-Web Services). JAX-WS supports SOAP-based and REST-style services. JAX-WS is commonly shortened to JWS for Java Web Services. The current version of JAX-WS is 2.x, which is a bit confusing because version 1.x has a different label: JAX-RPC. JAX-WS preserves but also significantly extends the capabilities of JAX-RPC.

A SOAP-based web service could be implemented as a single Java class but, following best practices, there should be an interface that declares the methods, which are the web service operations, and an implementation, which defines the methods declared in the interface. The interface is called the SEI: Service Endpoint Interface. The implementation is called the SIB: Service Implementation Bean. The SIB can be either a POJO or a Stateless Session EJB (Enterprise Java Bean). The SOAP-based web services will be implemented as POJOs, that is, as instances of regular Java classes. These web services will be published using library classes that come with core Java 6.

Example 1-1 is the SEI for a web service that returns the current time as either a string or as the elapsed milliseconds from the windows, midnight January 1, 1970 GMT.

Example 1-1. Service Endpoint Interface for the TimeServer

Example 1-2 is the SIB, which implements the SEI.

Example 1-2. Service Implementation Bean for the TimeServer

The two files are compiled in the usual way from the current working directory, which in this case is immediately above the subdirectory ch01:

A Java Application to Publish the Web Service

Once the SEI and SIB have been compiled, the web service is ready to be published. In full production mode, a Java Application Server such as BEA WebLogic, GlassFish, JBoss, or WebSphere might be used; but in development and even light production mode, a simple Java application can be used. Example 1-3 is the publisher application for the TimeServer service.

Example 1-3. Endpoint publisher for the TimeServer

Once compiled, the publisher can be executed in the usual way:

Testing the Web Service with a Browser

We can test the deployed service by opening a browser and viewing the WSDL (Web Service Definition Language) document, which is an automatically generated service contract. (WSDL is pronounced "whiz dull.") The browser is opened to a URL that has two parts. The first part is the URL published in the Java TimeServerPublisher application: Appended to this URL is the query string ?wsdl in upper-, lower-, or mixed case.

The result is Example 1-4 is the WSDL document that the browser displays.

Example 1-4. WSDL document for the TimeServer service

How the Endpoint Publisher Handles Requests?
Out of the box, the Endpoint publisher handles one client request at a time. This is fine for getting web services up and running in development mode. However, if the processing of a given request should hang, then all other client requests are effectively blocked.
Part 3 of this series show how Endpoint can handle requests concurrently so that one hung request does not block the others.