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Accelerate Your Java Web Service Development with XFire

  • July 5, 2007
  • By Dominic Da Silva
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SOAP Web Services have been around for a number of years now. For many years, the two main Java-based SOAP frameworks were Apache Axis and Sun's JAX-WS. A new Java-based SOAP framework by Codehaus called XFire now provides an even simpler way to develop SOAP web services and clients. The first article in this series will create a simple SOAP client using XFire, demonstrating how simple it is to work with this Java SOAP framework. The second article will use XFire to create a web service implementation.

XFire: SOAP Web Services Simplified

XFire is a next-generation Java SOAP framework. It makes service-oriented development approachable through its easy-to-use API and support for standards. It is also highly performant because it is built on a low-memory, StAX-based model. XFire can be used to create SOAP web service implementations and SOAP web service clients. Some important features of XFire are:

  • Support for important Web Service standards—SOAP, WSDL, WS-I Basic Profile, WS-Addressing, WS-Security, and so forth.
  • High performance SOAP Stack
  • Pluggable bindings POJOs, XMLBeans, JAXB 1.1, JAXB 2.0, and Castor support
  • JSR 181 API to configure services via Java 5 and 1.4 (Commons attributes JSR 181 syntax)
  • Support for many different transports—HTTP, JMS, XMPP, In-JVM, and so on.
  • Embeddable and Intuitive API
  • Spring, Pico, Plexus, and Loom support.
  • JBI Support
  • Client and server stub generation
  • JAX-WS early access support

Downloading XFire

The first thing you will want to do is get the latest XFire distribution, which is XFire 1.2.6. You can download the xfire-distribution-1.2.6.zip file from the XFire Download page. Once you have downloaded it, you can unzip it to a directory of your choice. I extract it to my C: drive, creating a directory C:xfire-1.2.6.

Downloading Java

For this example, I will use Java SE 5, specifically version 1.5.0_06. You can download the latest Java SE version from the Sun Java Download page. You can follow the installation instructions and install Java SE on to your machine. You also will want to set a JAVA_HOME environment variable as well as add the JAVA_HOMEbin directory to your PATH, so you can run the 'javac' and 'java' commands.

Downloading Ant

To compile and build your Java code, you will use the Apache Ant build tool. You can download the latest version of Ant, version 1.7.0 from the Ant Download page. All that needs to be done is unzip the file to a directory. I extract it to my C: drive, creating a directory C:ant-1.7.0. You also will need to set an ANT_HOME environment variable as well as add the ANT_HOMEbin to your PATH, so you can run the 'ant' command. For this example, I will be using an older version, 1.6.5.

Downloading Eclipse

For this example, I will use the Eclipse IDE to do my development. I am currently running Eclipse version 3.2.2. You can download the latest version of Eclipse from the Eclipse Download page and follow the installation instructions and install Eclipse on to your machine.

Creating Your XFireDemo Project in Eclipse

Create an XFireDemo Java project in Eclipse. Within this project, create the 'bin', 'src', 'lib' subdirectories, as well as a 'build.xml' file. Copy the C:xfire-1.2.6xfire-all-1.2.6.jar file and C:xfire-1.2.6lib*.jar files to the XFireDemo project 'lib' directory. Once you are done, your project should look like this:

Figure 1:XFireDemo Eclipse Project

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