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Easy Handmade SOAP-Webservice-Versioning With Apache Camel


Have you ever wondered, how to create a lightweight versioning of your SOAP-Webservices? Or a simple way to create a middle-tier for scheme-conversions between a Webservice-Client and a Webservice-Server using different Schemes?

Then this post may be interesting to you.

A short while ago I was confronted with the exact problem I described as an Introduction. It was to create an integration help for a Business Process Management System. I mulled over that problem somewhat and came up with an example, how you could do this very easily (as i find) with my favorite Integration Framework.

As you may have noticed I am talking about Apache Camel. In this Post I’d like to explain the solution i have found.

Before i get into the details, you could check and try (see readme) that example for yourself: It’s located at github:

BPEL-Camel Example

Here in this post i will only repeat the interesting parts of it.

… Now let’s begin …

Business Case

Lets suppose, we have a Webservice for an specific business-purpose. The business case is invented, so please don’t give too much on the details of it.

I had to find a way to service webservice-clients that for example, know a Version 1-Schema of our Webservice, but need to be serviced by the Version 2-Webservice.

And vice-versa, meaning a V2-Scheme-Call should be able to be serviced by the V1-Webservice.


I have two WSDLs in this example that differ only by the imported Xsd-Documents for V1 and V2 Schemas.

As Camel is well integrated with the CXF-Framework to provide Webservices, you only have to create some configuration. In my example i use Spring for my configuration purposes. Here’s a part of the camel-context.xml -Spring config:

For this simple example i use the the Jetty-Component to create a Http-Endpoint as a servlet for both webservices:

<bean id="jetty" class="org.apache.camel.component.jetty.JettyHttpComponent" /> 

<cxf:cxfEndpoint id="insuranceEndpoint-v1"
        <entry key="dataFormat" value="MESSAGE" />
        <entry key="publishedEndpointUrl" value="http://localhost:9080/insuranceservice" />
<cxf:cxfEndpoint id="insuranceEndpoint-v2"
        <entry key="dataFormat" value="MESSAGE" />
        <entry key="publishedEndpointUrl" value="http://localhost:9080/insuranceservice" />

The Endpoint-Address defined in the WSDL is overwritten with a configuration property: publishedEndpointUrl that points to that servlet i wanna use as a entrance to my camel-routes. This configuration takes care for the Endpoint that is printed into the wsdl when you call: http://localhost:9000/process1?wsdl

With this i can create a unified entrance to both webservices.

Camel-Routes: unified entrance for the webservices

But how is this handled in the camel-routes? See yourself:

package com.innoq.bpelcam;

public class SchemaEvalutionRouter extends RouteBuilder {

    public void configure() throws Exception {

        Namespaces ns_v1 = new Namespaces("c1", "http://bpel.innoq.com/insurance/v1/types");
        Namespaces ns_v2 = new Namespaces("c2", "http://bpel.innoq.com/insurance/v2/types");

            .when().xpath("//c1:CarInsuranceFindProcess", ns_v1)
                .setHeader("schemaVersion", constant("1"))
                .setHeader("targetVersion").xpath("//c1:targetVersion", String.class, ns_v1)    
            .when().xpath("//c2:CarInsuranceFindProcess", ns_v2)
                .setHeader("schemaVersion", constant("2"))
                .setHeader("targetVersion").xpath("//c2:targetVersion", String.class, ns_v2)


So there’s a Jetty-Endpoint which starts the jetty-container implicitly.

If you’d like to use your average WebSphere-Web Container ;-) or a Tomcat you have to configure it a little bit different in the Spring-config, but this should be the topic for another post (or the Camel-documentation).

We have here a WS-Addressing-like (correct me, when i’m wrong) determination which Schema the Webservice-Caller uses with a simple XPath-Expression. The corresponding namespaces have to be defined at the beginning of the configure method.

For later evaluation this information is stored in the Camel-Exchange as Meta-Information (Header). Also the targetedVersion is recognized and stored for later evalutaion as a Header. Depending on the recognized Schema as V1 or V2, we incorporate a evaluation-route, which is build for each Webservice-Schema-Version:



        .bean(new V1TransformerBean(), "transformV1toV2");  

There the targetVersion comes in handy. So you don’t need no more XPath-evaluations to know where to go. So in that matter, for each non-original schema-version (V2,V3 and so on), you need to expand this route with another when()-Block.

The pipeline(“direct:transformV1V2”)-pattern, which enables to incorporate camel-routes (here: “direct:transformV1V2”) for definition is used in this example to show, that you can distribute your schema-conversion on different beans or/and routes as you wish.
The V1TransformerBean takes care in my case for the whole V1 to V2-conversion of the sent document. This bean has grown in a not so easy component, so i’m gonna explain in one of my next posts.

Last trick…

The last trick is that the whole exchange is sent in the end to .to(“cxf:bean:insuranceEndpoint-v2”) . This is a cxf-endpoint. This could be your actual implementation of the versioned Webservice:

 package com.innoq.bpelcam;

 public class WebservicesRouter extends RouteBuilder { 
    public void configure() throws Exception {
        DataFormat jaxb10 = new JaxbDataFormat("com.innoq.bpel.insurance.v1.types");
        DataFormat jaxb11 = new JaxbDataFormat("com.innoq.bpel.insurance.v2.types");

        Namespaces ns_v1 = new Namespaces("c1", "http://bpel.innoq.com/insurance/v1/types");
        Namespaces ns_v2 = new Namespaces("c2", "http://bpel.innoq.com/insurance/v2/types");

            .transform().xpath("//c1:CarInsuranceFindProcess", ns_v1)
            .process(new OrderContentsProcessor())
            .process(new ResponseBuilderProcessor(10));

But you could also easily redirect the whole soap-document to another system (i.e. BPEL). Therefore it only needs to be configured in your camel-spring-configuration as Endpoint pointing to another system.

A side note here is: I always use the Java-Fluent-API, because with a little discipline in formatting, you could have your routes configured in a very transparent and clear matter. I’d prefer that over xml- or even graphical-configuration every time.

That’s it

So that’s it folks. If something is not clear to you, i am happy for feedback/questions ;-)

Cheers, Martin