Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wise presentation at JBug Milan

Yesterday I've been presenting on Wise at the Milan JBoss User Group.
I went through the core Wise concept and finished with a demo of the Wise GUI, which looked interesting to the attending developers :-)
The slides for the presentation are online at Slideshare:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Wise GUI on Openshift

Last Friday I cut a bug fix release of both Wise core and Wise webgui. Most of the changes are basically meant to consolidate / optimize the web user interface, making it simpler to understand and faster.

Building and deploying Wise webgui to your local JBoss AS 7 instance is really a matter of unpacking a zip file and issuing a single command (mvn clean package jboss-as:deploy). Starting from today, you can also try a demo Wise application on my Openshift area:

I might be updating that in the future before cutting new releases, so don't be too surprised if you catch it offline for some minutes; anyway feel try to stick any public wsdl url in there and test your preferred ws endpoint. Please post any feedback on the forum :-)
If you don't know what to test and just want to give Wise a try, has plenty of misc test ws endpoints (almost all up and running).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

JBoss Tools and release of Wise-core 2.0.2.Final

The release of Wise core 2.0.1.Final few months ago came with some new features, including the message preview functionality. As previously blogged, an obvious usage scenario of that is writing a SOAP message preview tool.
Now, given JBoss Tools (Eclipse plugins for JBoss technology) offers a similar functionality and was having few issues in that area, I ended up talking a bit with JBoss Tools developers and eventually had them try migrating to Wise instead of the existing message preview implementation ;-)
So I'm quite happy upcoming JBoss Tools 4.1.0 will be using Wise core for its WS Tester plugin!
By the way, this also brought additional testing coverage to Wise; as a matter of fact a quite important bug was found by Brian Fitzpatrick (thanks Brian!) while working on the migration... so here I am at announcing a bug fix release, Wise core 2.0.2.Final.
The new version is available for download as binary distribution, its Maven artifact are on the usual repository and next release of JBoss Tools (4.1.0.Beta2) is going to consume it.

Consider giving a try at both JBoss Tools and Wise core new version, feedback is welcome!
For those using the Wise webgui, a simple update in the main pom.xml to use core 2.0.2.Final is enough for pulling in the new version.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wise GUI 1.0.1 additions

Wise core 2.0.1 and Wise webgui 1.0.1 have just been released!
The core comes with a couple of interesting new features which I introduced in the previous posts: detyped contract browsing / endpoint invocation and request message preview. This post will hence show the nice additions that webgui has just got :-)

The request parameter panel is now a multi-tab panel:

in particular the "Options" tab allows setting:

  • the username / password to be used for the actual invocation (might be different from the wsdl retrieval ones)
  • an override value for the target endpoint address (which is useful for quickly testing different endpoints conforming to the same wsdl contract)

Moreover, it's possible to get a popup window showing a preview of the SOAP request message that would be created and sent for the currently provided request parameters (no message actually goes on the wire):

Finally, should the user be interested in having a look at the actual SOAP response message that has been received upon invocation, the "View message" button shows it in another popup window:

I believe the 1.0.1 additions should further expand the set of Wise GUI usage scenarios; you can download the latest version, have a try and feel free to provide feedback :-)
Further improvements are planned for next release, possibly including a major UI change for allowing user management, so stay tuned...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Writing a SOAP message preview tool

Previous post introduced a new tree view of request parameters for invoking an endpoint. Here I'd like to show an example of a practical usage of such addition to Wise core: a customized SOAP message preview tool.
There're few scenarios in which a user needs to know how a SOAP message for invoking a given WSDL operation will look like. Computing that can be easy or difficult, depending on the complexity of the contract (number of schemas, wsdl style, etc.), that's why resorting to leveraging tools is actually a good idea ;-)

Using Wise, we start by building a WSDynamicClient instance consuming our target wsdl and selecting the WSMethod to use (here we already knew the service, port and operation names):
then it's time to create an ElementBuilder as follows:
please note we're setting the request flag (given we're building the tree for request parameters) and we disable default value generation for leaf elements (as we want to provide custom default values and do not want elements from schema sequences to default to null).
The builder is used to build up the request trees (one for each method parameter):
the populateElement method is where we customize the tree according to our scenario needs:
as you can see, we don't want null elements [A], we set default values for leaves [B], we add one element for each array/collection [C] and run a single cycle of lazy element expansion [D] (cyclic element type references in the schemas are converted into lazy load elements in the tree).
In this case, the default values are set in quite a dirty way in getDefaultValue(Class cl), basically we check provided class and return a "?" for String, zero for any numerical type, "1970-01-01T00:00:00.000Z" for XMLGregorianCalendar and an empty string otherwise.
Once the tree is available, getting the actual parameter objects to perform the invocation with is a matter of calling toObject() on each tree root element:
And finally, the message preview is written to a provided output stream as follows:
That's all!
You can have a look at the whole code in the MessagePreviewIntegrationTest I've recently added to the current Wise core 2.0.1-SNAPSHOT. Any feedback / comment is welcome!

And if you're wondering how this is currently implemented, well, you know Wise basically uses JAXWS tooling from JBossWS to generate a compliant ws client; the Wise model is built by parsing the generated client and the tree view is derived from the model. The message preview flow is pretty similar to the invocation one, except a special jaxws handler is installed in the client in order for writing down the SOAP message generated by the internal ws stack (Apache CXF here); the handler also stops the handler chain execution so that no message actually goes to wire and Wise early return the message preview.

As previously explained, delegating to a fully compliant WS stack here, ensure correctness of the messages, even of their preview ;-)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Detyped WS contract browsing and endpoint invocation

In response to some good feedback received from the community after the recent 2.0 release, I've been enriching the API of Wise Core to further simplify ws testing using it.
Till now the Wise core API has fundamentally been based on the WSEndpoint, WSMethod, WebParameter abstraction:
A given WSDL contract is mapped to at least one WSEndpoint instance having one or more WSMethod instances. Each WSMethod can have multiple WebParameter objects depending on the WSDL operation signature. By inspecting the type information in WebParameter instances, the user is meant to build the actual objects to be passed as arguments to WSMethod:invoke(Object args). While effective, this might turn out to be not very practical and easy (due to reflection, see here) if the consumed WSDL contract is complex and includes multiple nested schema types.
It's well known that Wise core supports Smooks transformations, with the sake of allowing conversion of existing application data models into the object structure required for performing the invocation. However that's not really helping a lot when the target is programmatically testing a given endpoint.
In particular some users expressed the interest in the tree view offered by the Wise GUI on top of the core model: similarly to what is shown in the GUI, a tree model (think about e.g. the DOM tree approach) could be provided to describe each parameter type of a given WSMethod. Each element of the tree would allow getting children and setting values (for leaves only). So here is what I came up with: The current Wise core 2.0.1-SNAPSHOT features an implementation of the Element interface above, as well as a builder implementation for converting a WebParameter into an Element tree:
The end result is in a really simplified contract browsing of a WS endpoint as well as simple invocation (see the integration test here too):
The tree view can of course be used to convert and access the data returned in the InvocationResult instance.
Please note how the parameters type info is completely hidden to the user, who basically ends up setting string values for leaves elements. Strings are parsed into proper primitives (and wrappers) depending on the actual parameter type. Wise default Element impl is currently able to convert values to String, Character, all numerical types, QName, XMLGregorianCalendar and Duration classes.
So, leveraging Wise, a user can invoke / test an endpoint by browsing its contract and setting parameters in a fully dynamic and detyped way, while still being sure the generated SOAP request is compliant with the contract requirements and constraints.

The additions described above are currently being tested and will be included soon in next release. Any comment / feedback is welcome as usual!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wise is back

It's been a couple of years since we wrote here last time. At least from my point of view, the project has basically been on hold while waiting for the underlying ws layer to stabilize (and for me to have time to update its integration here ;-)). Moreover we've been kind of waiting for the web gui work to come to an end, but unfortunately that never really took off due to lack of time from the contributors working on it. Anyway, in the mean time, both application server and its WS layer made giant steps ahead and JBoss AS 7 series comes today with a fully compliant web services stack based on a proper Apache CXF integration. Last summer I actually updated and cleaned-up the wise-core, made it build with Maven 3 and added support for AS 7, however that was not enough for a release. More recently I decided to invest some energies (and most of my spare time ;-)) on creating a GUI for the basic wise functionalities, basically what we had in the project before the donation to JBoss / Red Hat. So I basically started from one of the very nice JBoss Developer Framework quickstarts and built a JavaEE 6 web app based on CDI and JSF 2 (using RichFaces 4.3). I have to say that it actually turned out to be easier / faster then I expected to get to what you see in the snapshots below.
The GUI is basically a fully dynamic, single page webapp for quickly invoking webservice endpoints without the need of generating and compiling client stubs or directly writing SOAP xml messages. You start by typing the URL of the wsdl contract you want to consume (you can provide username and password if required, http basic auth only supported atm):

then you click on "OK" button and let Wise fetch the wsdl, parse it together with any referenced schema and finally present you a list of available endpoint operations:

you select an operation and Wise shows a tree representing the input parameters for that:

you can fill in input boxes with data, enable/disable elements (for nillable ones only) and add/remove elements for collection and list parameters. Finally, you click on "Perform invocation" button and get another tree for the result object:

That's all, very simple, yet really effective and quick solution for testing ws endpoints. No need for either writing a single line of code or playing with XML. No external tool needed (besides for your browser). And possibly even more interesting, no special technical knowledge required, so e.g a business analyst might validate WS service results without bugging the developer who worked on it ;-) (keep in mind that in most scenarios, exposing a simple test WS endpoint is basically a matter of adding a single @WebService annotation on a POJO or EJB3 class...)

You can get the Wise 2.0 core as well as the first Wise GUI release from the project download page. The core artifacts are also available on the JBoss Maven repository; the web GUI is meant for being deployed on JBoss AS 7.1 or greater, please refer to the enclosed README file for details on building and deploying it (it's basically a single command though, assuming you have Maven properly setup).

For the next releases, I can foresee interesting and not too difficult to achieve enhancements to the web GUI, mainly on supporting WS-Policy enabled endpoints / contracts (the underlying WS stack is already fully supporting that stuff). I will create jiras soon and will probably work on them assuming I can still save some time to spend on Wise; anyway any contribution is more then welcome, keep an eye on jira and feel free to jump in anytime.

Stay tuned!