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Tool to visualize web-service in an intuitive way.

Example HTML documentation for Amazon AWS ECommerce Service generated by vsdl-viewer.

You can see your WSDL rendered by wsdl-viewer using a form on

WSDL has its constructive logic, but it is hard to read / understand the content by business professionals (mostly non-programmers). Here is a small tool to visualize the web-service in a more intuitive way and to generate human-readable documentation. I developed this transformation for WSDL interface analysis of a complex system.

How to use wsdl-viewer

1) Online generated documentation

A smart composite URL uses the W3C XSLT service to generate the documentation for your WSDL. URL is constructed from

  • service address
  • wsdl-viewer xslt address ?xslfile=
  • and the WSDL address &xmlfile=URL_OF_YOUR_WSDL

Example URL for the online transformation:

2) Stylesheet link in WSDL

An elegant option is to add the userfriendly face directly into the WSDL. This way by opening the WSDL in a browser the transformation prepares on-fly the HTML view. This requires just this changes in WSDL: The WSDL is just an XML, so adding a processing instruction can suggest the browser to use on-fly the XSLT to convert the WSDL into a human-readable HTML page. Example of the instruction:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href="wsdl-viewer.xsl"?>

<wsdl:definitions ...>
    <!-- ... Here is the service declaration ... -->

Of course in this case the XSLT is placed in the same directory as the WSDL. You can define also an absolute URL (i.e. <?xml-stylesheet type="text/xsl" href=""?>).

Some legacy web-browsers are not able by default automatically recognize the .wsdl file type (suffix). For the type recognition the WSDL file has to be renamed by adding the suffix .xml - i.e. myservice.wsdl.xml.

3) Command-line or batch execution of XSLT

A set of WSDL-s can be converted into web pages (HTML) from command line or in a batch process (i.e. an ANT script, that has native XSLT support).


Version 3.1.xx has support for WSDL 2.0 and modularization for better development / maintenance.

The modular XSLT is in folder src, the build script in build folder uses the Apache Ant build tool to create single-file XSLT and a distribution ZIP file.


  • The transformation was inspired by an article of Uche Ogbuji: WSDL processing with XSLT.
  • The use of XSLT service from W3C is inspired by an idea in
  • The WSDL Viewer was included in the WSDL parser Apache Woden
  • Author's page about the vsdl-viewer tool:


Tool to visualize web-service in an intuitive way.




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