Friday, August 10, 2007

Tips for Web Services Interoperability

[Originally posted on my old BEA Dev2Dev blog on August 10, 2007]
I try to follow some simple rules to maximise interoperability when developing Web Services using WebLogic and/or AquaLogic Service Bus (ALSB). Most of the rules are pretty obvious, but perhaps one or two are not?. In case some of these rules are useful to others, I thought I'd share them, so here they are:
  1. Use SOAP over HTTP. I've blogged here about why SOAP over JMS shouldn't be used if interoperability is a concern.

  2. Conform to the WS-I Basic Profile 1.1 by using the free WS-I Test Tool. Test the WSDL and over-the-wire SOAP requests/responses for the created Web Services, for conformity using the tool available here (look for "Interoperability Testing Tools 1.1").

  3. Expose Web Services using the "Document-Literal-Wrapped" style with the 'dotNetStyle' flag to help WS-I conformity and to be especially Microsoft product friendly. I partly covered this in the blog here

  4. Use the WS-* standards judiciously. WebLogic implemented standards such as WS-Addressing, WS-Security, SAML and WS-ReliableMessaging are not necessarily implemented by other Web Services products/stacks or the specification version supported by these may be different.

  5. Don't necessarily dismiss the use of WebLogic 'add-value' / 'non-standard' Web Services features at face-value

    • 'Buffered' Web Services are interoperable with other client Web Services stacks at the basic SOAP-HTTP level because the service consumer is not aware that the service implementation uses a JMS queue for buffering internally.
    • 'Callbacks' may be interoperable with non-WebLogic service consumers as long as the non-WebLogic consumers include the WS-Addressing 'Reply-To' header in the request and provide a web service endpoint to be asynchronously called back on for the specified 'Reply-To' URL
    • 'Asynchronous Requests/Responses' may be interoperable with non-WebLogic service providers as long as the non-WebLogic providers honour the received WS-Addressing 'Reply-To' header of the request, by sending the Web Service response asynchronously to the specified 'Reply-To' URL.
    • However, 'Conversational' Web Services are highly unlikely to be interoperable with non-WebLogic based service providers or consumers. The specification 'WS-Conversation' which the 'Conversational' feature would probably most clearly map to, doesn't really exist as a public specification and there is no indication that it ever will (an incomplete internal draft version has been dormant for a few years now).
  6. For SOAP/HTTP Proxies created in ALSB, activate the "WS-I compliance enforcement" option (for the development phase of the project at least). When ALSB is used to act as an intermediary between Web Services consumers and providers, this ALSB option will help any Web Service non-conformities to be detected, so that they can be quickly rectified.
Note: ALSB also transparently converts between SOAP version 1.1 and SOAP version 1.2 inbound and outbound messages and ALSB is specifically tested by BEA for interoperability against third-party vendor toolkits such as Microsoft .NET and Apache Axis.

Soundtrack for today: Forensic Scene by Fugazi