Monday, October 13, 2008

New WAS v7.0 Web Services Functionality

The Feature Pack for Web Services that WebSphere released on top of WebSphere v6.1 dropped a large chunk of new Java EE 5 functionality related to Web Services in an early fashion. However, version 7.0 completes that work plus introduces some new capabilities that make it easier to developer web services for application developers.

The work (from a technology perspective) focused on 2 specific areas:
  • JCP-based programming model updates
  • Continuation of filling out the Web Services Roadmap
From a JCP-based perspective, the support for JAX-WS and JAXB have been upgraded from the Feature Pack to their 2.1 equivalents. This adds several minor maturity improvements in both cases (such as @XmlSeeAlso support for type substitution) as well as support for a WS-Addressing API for usage within JAX-WS. What this means for end-users is easier and better support for using/developing web services. From an integration perspective, version 7.0 now allows EJB 3.0 developed beans to also be exposed natively as web services. Lastly, v7.0 also introduces support for JSR 109 metadata. This allows annotation information to be overridden, handlers to be defined, and allows testcases like common JAX-WS providers to be used with different types of metadata.

Extending beyond what's in just the JCP specification, the combination of EJB 3.0 beans and JAX-WS annotations also brings support for SOAP/JMS-based beans to JAX-WS-based services. This makes it consistent for those developers looking to use existing reliable transports as a way to send/receive their web services requests. As part of that support, we are tracking the emerging SOAP/JMS standard being developed at W3C.

With respect to filling out the Web Services roadmap, WebSphere v7.0 upgrades support for numerous OASIS and W3C specifications to their official standardized levels (as well as providing support for their pre-OASIS levels for versions previously introduced within WebSphere). OASIS WS-AtomicTransactions and WS-BusinessActivity were both upgraded to their 1.1 levels (so WebSphere supports both 1.0 and 1.1 levels now). The OASIS WS-Trust and WS-SecureConversation specifications have also been upgraded to their OASIS 1.3 levels as well as support for OASIS WS-SecurityPolicy 1.2 being introduced. The OASIS Kerberos Token Profile 1.1 is also now supported in v7.0 providing support for single signon with Keberos tokens.
With the addition of WS-SecurityPolicy also means that we've introduced support for W3C's WS-Policy 1.5 specification. As such, WebSphere now supports the ability to expose WS-Policy assertions for services exposing WSDL endpoints supporting the qualities of service attached at that endpoint (including Security, ReliableMessaging, Addressing, and Transactions). That information is available via the typical ?wsdl exposed for the service as well as a WS-MetadataExchange request to the service endpoint too.

To continue focusing on improving the ease-of-use experience for WS-Policy, WebSphere has also exposed the ability on the client side to configure itself based on the policy assertions exposed in the published service's WSDL file. This makes it easy to have the client configure itself (or calculate an effective policy based on the clients capabilities).

In addition to the standards upgrades, v7.0 continues to focus on other enhancements to the existing functionality (both functional and non-functional) which continues to enhance the maturity and ease-of-use to the development and adminstration of web services. For example, WS-Notification services now can take advantage of PolicySets. PolicySets themselves have been enhanced to support naming the configurations as well as the bindings. These can now be imported and exported easily to allow these pre-configured systems to be moved from one topology to another. For example, moving from a development environment to a test environment to a production environment.

Andrew Spyker had already talked about some of the dramatic performance improvements introduced in v7.0 for web services.

I guess to make a long story short, there's lots of good new stuff in the web services space. I hope that you find the links provided above as a good starting point to quickly get pointers to more information on the topics discussed.


Anonymous said...


Do you plan to backport JAX-WS support for SOAP over JMS to Websphere 6.1 feature pack?

If such release is on the way can you give us a date?


Greg Truty said...

There are no current plans to backport to the Feature Pack. The whole point of the feature pack was to introduce some new technologies sooner (rather than later) into the service stream that had value. To be timely, we focused on stripping down the subset of work required for the Feature Pack.

While I can see the value of backporting functionality when it's done, it also introduces change to the service stream. To maintain a stable service stream, our customers have given us feedback that they would prefer that new functionality not be introduced via the service stream. Again, that's the whole point of the Feature Pack (as additional add-on capability). Since the FeaturePack is GA, it now incurs the same sort of stable guidelines that the base receives.

Hope this helps explain things.

Mad Prophet said...
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