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Java library, based on Spring-WS, that enables handling SOAP on a purely XML level
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soap-ws Build Status

A lightweight and easy-to-use Java library to handle SOAP on a purely XML level.


Welcome to soap-ws! This is a lightweight and easy-to-use Java library that wraps Spring-WS and enables handling SOAP on a purely XML level. soap-ws is based on four main abstractions:

  • WsdlParser can easily parse your WSDL and produce SoapBuilders,
  • SoapBuilder can generate SOAP messages directly in the XML format,
  • SoapClient can be used to transmit a SOAP message over HTTP(s) to a web-service endpoint,
  • SoapServer can be leveraged to process SOAP messages and and respond to them.

All of that requires no generation of stubs - everything happens directly in XML having - is the provider.

Why should you use soap-ws?

Read this carefully and check if you know what we are talking about.

  • Have you ever had problems with the versioning of web-service endpoints? Have you ever had to address the problem how to deal with many versions of the same classes generated from two versions of the same WSDL in one code base? Did you try to prefix the classes, change the package, or do any other mambo-jumbo tricks that are clearly against the best-practices of software design?
  • Have you every tried to chain and orchestrate a few web-service invocations applying some XSLT transformation to the consecutive responses forwarding them to the next endpoint? Have you ever seen how cumbersome it is using Java generated ws clients/servers?
  • Have you ever had to re-generate the ws-stubs, recompile and redeploy you application because of a tiny change in the WSDL?
  • Have you every been confused why you generate all these domain and stub classes to invoke one simple web-service operation and to get a plain response that could be processed with XSTL one-liner?
  • Have you ever had to had to send a simple XML message to a SOAP server in a fire and forget mode?
  • Have you ever had to expose a mock SOAP endpoint that would respond to the request sending a sample response -let's say in an unit test?
  • Have you ever had to download a hierarchical WSDL file with hierarchical XSD schemas and store it on your local hard drive with all the import and includes fixed properly so that you can reuse it locally?
  • Have you ever…

Yes, that's what soap-ws can do for you. But it can do much more, just dive in and check the plethora of stuff that we have implemented.

What is supported?

  • supports WSDL 1.1
  • supports SOAP 1.1 and 1.2
  • supports all four WS flavors: rpc-encoded, rpc-literal, document-literal and document-encoded
  • supports SSL and basic-authentication
  • supports SOCKS, HTTP and HTTPS proxies
  • supports SpringFramework
  • supports JUnit, Spock and Arquillian

Main features


  • fetch, parse and store WSDL (hierarchical WSDLs and XSDs supported)
  • generate a soap XML message on the basis of the imported WSDL


  • communication and message handling purely in the XML format
  • basic authentication and SSL support
  • HTTP(s) and SOCKS proxy support, with/without basic authentication


  • endpoint exposition - communication and message handling purely in the XML format
  • extensive operation matcher - validate and match a request to a BindingOperation from the WSDL
  • auto-responder - respond to a soap request with a sample content
  • HTTP and HTTPS support


The project is open-source and distributed under the Apache license, Version 2.0. One module (soap-legacy) is distributed under the LGPL 2.1 license (see the Note). You can confidently use soap-ws in your commercial project.

User Guide


Add soap-ws to your maven project

In order to use soap-ws in your project you have to declare soap-ws in the dependencies section of your pom.xml. You can mix and match soap-builder, soap-client, soap-server artifacts, depending on the fact what you want to achieve.


soap-ws is not yet located in the central maven repo, thus you also have to add an additional repository to your config.


If you are a Gradle user you probably know how to do it :)

Consume a Web-Serivce in 60 seconds

Let's consume the CurrencyConverter Web-Service. Thanks to the fluent builders the API is straigtforward and intuitive. Does it need any explanation? Welcome to soap-ws :)

	Wsdl wsdl = Wsdl.parse("");
    SoapBuilder builder = wsdl.binding()
    SoapOperation operation = builder.operation()
    Request request = builder.buildInputMessage(operation)
    SoapClient client = SoapClient.builder()
    String response =;

Provide a Web-Service in 60 seconds

Let's provide the CurrencyConverter Web-Service that returns random results (compliant with the schema!).

	Wsdl wsdl = Wsdl.parse("");
	SoapBuilder builder = wsdl.binding()
    SoapServer server = SoapServer.builder()
    server.registerRequestResponder("/currencyConvertor", new AutoResponder(builder));

That's more or less what you need to generate a SOAP message and consume/provide a Web-Service.


Let's have a closer look at the API and the main abstractions.


SoapBuilder interface describes the features of generation of XML SOAP messages. An instance of the SoapBuilder class is always bound to a specific wsdl file and one of its bindings. There can be more bindings in one WSDL file - in order to handle all of theme an instance of SoapBuilder is needed for every binding. The simplest way to construct an instance of the Wsdl is to call the static factory method "parse", passing the URL of the WSDL file (1).

    Wsdl wsdl = Wsdl.parse(wsdlUrl);  // (1)
	List<QName> bindings = wsdl.getBindings(); // (2)
	SoapBuilder builder = wsdl.binding().localPart("CurrencyConvertorSoap").find(); // (3)
	wsdl.printBindings(); // (4)
    List<SoapOperation> operations = builder.getOperations(); // (5)
	SoapOperation operation = builder.operation().name("ConversionRate").find();  // (6)

Wsdl.parse(wsdlUrl) reads the specified WSDL file recursively, fetching all included WSDL and XSD files and constructs an underlying javax.wsdl.Definition object that is the Java-based representation of the WSDL (see WSDL4j to read more about the Definitoin object).

In order to generate a SOAP message you have to specify the Binding. To check what binding are defined in the WSDL invoke the getBindings() method (2). You can also use the binding finder, just call the binding() method and add additional parameters such as localPart(""), etc. Then invoke builder to get an instance of the SoapBuilder(). Finally, you can invoke the printBindings() method that will print all the binding to the stdout (just as a quick hack) (4).

The last step is to generate a SOAP message using the SoapBuilder. In order to do it though you have to specify the SOAP operation. In order to get the list of operations specified in that binding just invoke the getOperations() method on the SoapBuilder object (5). You can also use the SOAP operation finder - just call the operation() method and chain additional parameters such as name(), etc. Then call find() and get a reference to the Soap Operation.

Now you are all set. To generate a SOAP message in the XML format just invoke one of the methods defined in the SoapBuilder interface specifiying the SoapOperation. You can also build generic empty messages invoking buildEmptyMessage or buildFault:

	public interface SoapBuilder {

		String buildInputMessage(SoapOperation operation);
    	String buildInputMessage(SoapOperation operation, SoapContext context);

	    String buildOutputMessage(SoapOperation operation);
    	String buildOutputMessage(SoapOperation operation, SoapContext context);

	    String buildFault(String code, String message);
    	String buildFault(String code, String message, SoapContext context);

	    String buildEmptyFault();
    	String buildEmptyFault(SoapContext context);
	    String buildEmptyMessage();

		// (…)

Last, but not least. In most of the cases, you can relay on the default settings of the SoapContext that specifies how messages are generated, but if you would like to change it you have to populate the SoapContext object and pass it either to the Wsdl (from that moment on, SoapBuilder will use this context as the default one), or to single methods, changing the context of the generation for the time span of a single method invocation. In order to populate a SoapContext object use the fluent builder presented below.

    SoapContext context = SoapContext.builder()


You can create an instance of a soap-client using a fluent builder. If you want to use a plain HTTP connection without tweaking any advance options you are good to go with the following snippet:

    SoapClient client = SoapClient.builder()

Then, you can send a SOAP envelope (as a String) invoking the post() method:, envelope);

You can also skip the SOAPAction header and send the envelope only:;


Use a similar builder to create an instance of the soap-server.

    SoapServer server = SoapServer.builder()

You can start and stop the server using start/stop methods


Now we would like to turn our server into a mock server that responds to request generating a sample content that is complaint with the schema of the operation that is being invoked. To do that we have to create an AutoResponder and register it under the given context path. Autoresponder requires a populated SoapBuilder instance (that contains the WSDL and the binding name which it should use). Keep in mind the there can be only one binding under one context path;

    String contextPath = "/exampleEndpoint";
    AutoResponder responder = new AutoResponder(soapBuilder);
    server.registerResponder(contextPath, responder);

From that moment our server will respond to request send to the "exampleEndpoint" context path.

If you would like to handle the request yourself you just have to implement the RequestResponder interface.

    public interface RequestResponder {
        java.xml.Source respond(SoapMessage request);

It may be a bit cumbersome, as it is not that easy to match an XML request to the binding and operation, that is the reason why we provided an AbstractResponder that does all of that backstage.

    public abstract class AbstractResponder implements RequestResponder {
     	// (…)
     	* Abstract method that should be implemented by overriding classes.
     	* This method is invoked whenever a request is send by the client.
     	* InvokedOperation may be passed to a SoapBuilder to construct the
     	* response to the request that was sent by the client.
     	* @param invokedOperation operation from the binding that is matched to the SOAP message
     	* @param message          SOAP message passed by the client
     	* @return response in the XML source format containing the whole SOAP envelope
    	public abstract Source respond(SoapOperation invokedOperation, SoapMessage message);

AbstractResponder does all the hard work for you to match the message to the BindingOperation from the WSDL. If it find it the respond() operation is invoked, if not a SOAP fault is send back to the client saying the operation has not been found. AbstractResponder uses our implementation of the SoapOperationMatcher that matches the request to the operation in the following way:

  • SOAP Action mapping
  • RCP bindings are matched using single top-level tag with the name of the invoked operation
  • Document bindings are matched by input types and then by input names

Having the SoapOperation object provided by the AbstractResponder you can easily generate and modify the response that you create using SoapBuilder that available in the responder as a instance field called builder.

That's a lot of stuff. I hope you enjoyed it! Have a look at the examples located in the soap-examples project. Try it out now and leave send us some feedback!

Project modules

  • soap-builder - responsible for the generation of SOAP XML messages.
  • soap-client - responsible for the communication with a SOAP endpoint.
  • soap-server - responsible for exposing SOAP endpoints and handling the requests.
  • soap-it - contains integration tests - tests soap-client and soap-server in many tricky ways.
  • soap-examples - contains a few example how to use soap-ws.
  • soap-legacy - legacy code extracted from 3rd party projects

Example usage

Generate and post a SOAP message

	Wsdl wsdl = Wsdl.parse("");
    SoapBuilder builder = wsdl.binding()
    SoapOperation operation = builder.operation()
    Request request = builder.buildInputMessage(operation)
    SoapClient client = SoapClient.builder()
    String response =;

Create a SoapServer

	SoapServer server = SoapServer.builder()

Create a SoapServer with AutoResponder (great to unit test web-services)

	SoapServer server = SoapServer.builder()

    URL wsdlUrl = ResourceUtils.getResourceWithAbsolutePackagePath("/", "wsdl/stockquote-service.wsdl");
    Wsdl wsdl = Wsdl.parse(wsdlUrl);
    SoapBuilder builder = wsdl.binding().localPart("StockQuoteSoapBinding").find();
    AutoResponder responder = new AutoResponder(builder);

    server.registerRequestResponder("/service", responder);

Create a SoapServer with a custom responder

	SoapServer server = SoapServer.builder()

    URL wsdlUrl = ResourceUtils.getResourceWithAbsolutePackagePath("/", "wsdl/stockquote-service.wsdl");
    Wsdl wsdl = Wsdl.parse(wsdlUrl);
    final SoapBuilder builder = wsdl.binding().localPart("StockQuoteSoapBinding").find();
    AbstractResponder customResponder = new AbstractResponder(builder) {
        public Source respond(SoapOperation invokedOperation, SoapMessage message) {
            try {
                // build the response using builder
                String response = builder.buildOutputMessage(invokedOperation);
                // here you can tweak the response -> for example with XSLT
                return XmlUtils.xmlStringToSource(response);
            } catch (Exception e) {
                // will automatically generate SOAP-FAULT
                throw new RuntimeException("my custom error", e);

    server.registerRequestResponder("/service", customResponder);

You can find all these working examples in the soap-examples project. Enjoy!

Spring example

Spring configuration:

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <beans xmlns=""

        <!-- wsdl part (locally referenced wsdl) -->
        <bean id="wsdlResource" class="">

        <bean id="wsdlUrl" class="" factory-bean="wsdlResource" factory-method="getURL"/>

        <!-- uncomment to use the local wsdl" -->
        <!--<bean id="wsdl" class="" factory-method="parse">-->
        <!--<constructor-arg ref="wsdlUrl"/>-->

        <!-- wsdl part (remote wsdl) -->
        <bean id="wsdl" class="" factory-method="parse">

        <!-- soap-builder part -->
        <bean id="soapContext" class="">
            <constructor-arg name="exampleContent" type="boolean" value="true"/>
            <constructor-arg name="typeComments" type="boolean" value="true"/>
            <constructor-arg name="buildOptional" type="boolean" value="true"/>
            <constructor-arg name="alwaysBuildHeaders" type="boolean" value="true"/>
            <constructor-arg name="valueComments" type="boolean" value="true"/>

        <bean id="soapBuilder" class="" factory-bean="wsdl" factory-method="getBuilder">
            <constructor-arg name="bindingName">
            <constructor-arg name="context" ref="soapContext"/>

        <!-- security part -->
        <bean id="securityFactory" class="">
            <property name="authUsername" value="tom"/>
            <property name="authPassword" value="007"/>
            <property name="authMethod" value="basic"/>
            <property name="strictHostVerification" value="true"/>
            <property name="sslContextProtocol" value="SSLv3"/>

        <bean id="security" class="" factory-bean="securityFactory" factory-method="create"/>

        <!-- soap-client part -->
        <bean id="soapClientFactory" class="">
            <property name="endpointUri" value="http://localhost:8778/currencyConverter/soap"/>
            <property name="endpointSecurity" ref="security"/>

        <bean id="soapClient" class="" factory-bean="soapClientFactory" factory-method="create"/>

        <!-- soap-server part -->
        <bean id="autoResponder" class="">
            <constructor-arg ref="soapBuilder"/>

        <bean id="soapServerFactory" class="">
            <property name="httpPort" value="8778"/>
            <property name="responders">
                    <entry key="/currencyConverter/soap" value-ref="autoResponder"/>

        <bean id="soapServer" factory-bean="soapServerFactory" factory-method="create" init-method="start"/>

Then you can inject the beans to your code, for example in such a way:

    private SoapBuilder builder;

    private SoapClient client;

    private SoapServer server;

Last but not least

How can I hack around?

Who's behind it?

Tom Bujok []


This project was initially developed at centeractive ag for the purposes of the open-sphere project. The library has been successfully incorporated into open-sphere and that initial version could be found in the centeractive's repository at github.

Currently the project is developed and maintained solely by Tom Bujok at


This project contains classes extracted from the soapUI code base by centeractive ag in October 2011. They are located in the soap-legacy module. Every extracted class is annotated with an comment to fulfill the requirements of the LGPL 2.1 license under which soapUI is released. That is also the reason why soap-legacy module is released under LGPL 2.1 license. All other soap-ws modules are released under Apache v.2 license. The main reason behind the class extraction was to separate the code that is responsible for the generation of the SOAP messages from the rest of the soapUI's code that is tightly coupled with other modules, such as soapUI's graphical user interface, etc. The goal was to create an open-source java project whose main responsibility is to handle SOAP message generation and SOAP transmission purely on an XML level.

centeractive ag would like to express strong appreciation to SmartBear Software and to the whole team of soapUI's developers for creating soapUI and for releasing its source code under a free and open-source license. centeractive ag extracted and modified some parts of the soapUI's code in good faith, making every effort not to impair any existing functionality and to supplement it according to our requirements, applying best practices of software design.

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