Recently I had the joy of trying to work with some Web Services from a 3rd party system not written in .NET.  In this age of full understanding of XML and Interoperability and Basic Profile 1.1 compliance  this was of course completely easy.

NOT!!!!

This was a complete pain in the neck.  I had problems at every turn.  Our existing .NET web service that provides a similar service, soon to be retired though, was written in .NET 1.1. So I just wanted to modify it rather than do an upgrade.  The remote system used  Http1.1 Chunked mode.  .NET 1.1 does not handle this.  So .NET 2.0 here I come (I know I know that’s still legacy !).

Then I added the Web Reference to the test project called the method and nothing, all my values were empty.  I discovered that the returned values had a different namespace from that declared in the WSDL so the proxy class could not de-serialize it.

As a temporary fix whilst waiting for a patch to the other system I knew I needed to re-write the WSDL.

The short version of this story is I managed it and found more bugs in schema compliance but could not have achieved this without a bunch of tools to help me and they are not the tools you might think.

First knowing that I was dealing with Java services and Interop was my main concern I was unwilling to rely no WSDL.exe to generate my proxy, also I wanted access to the response stream in my debugging so I using the great

 

WSCF – Web Service Contract First by Christian Weyer of Thinktecture.

This tool give you far more control over the generation of your proxy class than the built in Add Web Reference of Studio.

To test the WebService initially I tried using the handy but limited WebService Studio, now this is great for quick testing of .NET web services but just was not up to the job in this case so I was recommended

SoapUI.  This is a JAVA tool, horror of horrors!

This fantastic Web Service Workbench allows for the testing of web services and integrated Basic Profile compliance testing as well as a Test Workbench complete with Schema compliance validation testing and Load testing.  This is the new SoapScope only FREE.

Then lastly I needed to edit and validate the new WSDL I was hand crafting.  So a handy tool to edit and check was required and this is the probably the biggest sin the Microsoft developers bible

 

Sun Eclipse Java EE editor.

This is the Visual Studio for the java world.

The EE version of this comes with a plug-in for WSDL editing and validation. Without which I could not have achieved this.  It too is free unlike XML Spy and can be extended and extending with plug-ins, one plug-in I added was SoapUI so now I had an integrated development and test suite all in one handy workspace.

Moral of the story is just cos your a .NET developer don’t think that all your answers lie in Studio and windows binaries, Java would not have got as big as it had without a similar toolset to ours, and in some cases its a letter better than ours.

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