A meta-guide to technical web service design – part II

In my previous post I presented a simple technique to create technical web service designs. I touched on the tools and the process and provided some code examples with guidelines. In this entry I will run through a procedure to establish a simple environment where you will be able to create your own designs. At the end you should be able to run the ant command to produce all of the design artifacts for a basic web service design project.

1. Software Requirements

The list below contains all of the software bits, in addition to Java Standard Edition[1], you will need*:

  1. Apache CXF 2.3.7[2]
  2. Apache Xalan-j 2.7.0[3]
  3. Apache Ant 1.6.5[4]
  4. Apache XMLBeans 2.4.0[5]
  5. Java Toolbox Framework Build 29[6]

2. Installation

Make use of section 1 and 2 of the Java Toolbox Framework Installation Guide[7] to complete the installation. You will only require the software listed above to successfully make use of the web service design tool chain. Find below an example configuration that I employ on my unix based system:

File system:


Environment variables:


Also make sure that the ant command is available on the PATH.

3. Using the Example Project

The Java Toolbox Framework, installed as part of the previous step, contains a very simple example or skeleton project (or source directory) that can be copied and customised to suite your needs. The provided source directory has the following structure:

File or Directory Description
build.properties The top level Ant properties file containing configuration parameters for WSDL generation
build.xml The top level Ant build file responsible for generating WSDL documents
doc Directory containing all of the generated design artifacts. The contents of this
directory can be made available on a web server for online access.
java Directory containing the Java sources for all service interfaces. Also contains the
compiled interfaces as well as the compiled XMLBeans generated API.
java/build.properties The Ant properties file containing configuration parameters for the Java build process.
java/build.xml The Ant build file responsible for compiling the Java sources and generating the documentation for all service interfaces.
wsdl Directory containing the generated WSDL documents.
xsd Directory containing the XSD documents that define the data model employed by service interfaces.
xsd/build.properties The Ant properties file containing configuration parameters for the XMLBeans build process.
xsd/build.xml The Ant build file responsible for generating the XMLBeans API and generating the data model documentation.

Perform the following steps to create the design artifacts for the example source directory:

  • Create a working directory in an appropriate location:
    mkdir ~/src/myservices
  • Copy the contents of the example project to the working directory:
    cp -rv $TOOLBOX_HOME/templates/misc/wsdesign/* ~/src/myservices
  • Compile the source and generate the design artifacts:
    cd ~/src/myservices
    cd xsd
    ant  # Build the XMLBeans API and generate the data model documentation.
    cd ../java
    ant # Build the service interface and generate the service documentation.
    cd ../
    ant  # Generate the WSDL

The doc directory should contain all of the generated design artifacts and can be viewed by accessing the doc/servicedoc/index.html page in a browser.

You can now start modifying and creating your own service designs.


  1. * The tool chain will in all likelihood work with later versions of the relevant Apache projects. The listed packages are the ones I am currently using. Also note that you would need the graphviz[8] tools installed to generate UML diagrams for the XMLBeans generated API and the service interfaces.


Happy Hacking!

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