Tuesday, January 20, 2009

XML Naming Conventions (Best Practices)

XML is the base of Web 2.0 development. While writing a web service to integrate products, I learned some best practices with XML naming conventions.

An XML element is everything from (including) the element's start tag to (including) the element's end tag.

An element can contain other elements, simple text or a mixture of both. Elements can also have attributes.

<book category="CHILDREN">
<author>J K. Rowling</author>
<book category="WEB">
<author>Erik T. Ray</author>>

In the example above, and have element contents, because they contain other elements. has text content because it contains text.

In the example above only has an attribute (category="CHILDREN").

XML Naming Rules

XML elements must follow these naming rules:

1. Names can contain letters, numbers, and other characters
2. Names cannot start with a number or punctuation character
3. Names cannot start with the letters xml (or XML, or Xml, etc)
4. Names cannot contain spaces

Any name can be used, no words are reserved.

Best Naming Practices

1. Make names descriptive. Names with an underscore separator are nice: , .
2. Names should be short and simple, like this: not like this: .
3. Avoid "-" characters. If you name something "first-name," some software may think you want to subtract name from first.
4. Avoid "." characters. If you name something "first.name," some software may think that "name" is a property of the object "first."
5. Avoid ":" characters. Colons are reserved to be used for something called namespaces (more later).
6. XML documents often have a corresponding database. A good practice is to use the naming rules of your database for the elements in the XML documents.
7. Non-English letters like éòá are perfectly legal in XML, but watch out for problems if your software vendor doesn't support them.

Reference : http://www.w3schools.com/xml/xml_elements.asp

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Apache AXIS2 Web Service Client

This article covers details about writing a web service client using Apache AXIS2 API. The article explains the various API using code snippets and covers parameters require by various methods of web service client API.

Apache AXIS2 web service API mainly consists of two type of objects ServiceClient and OperationClient. ServiceClient provides basic APIs to send and receive SOAP messages, for advanced methods you require Operation Client.

To provide target URL you need to define a EndPointReference type of object.

EndpointReference targetEPR = new EndpointReference(http://localhost:8080/axis2/services/helloworld);

Various options can be given to web service client by creating an Options object. The reference point defined is set into the options along with the Transport protocol.

Options options = new




Now create a service client and pass these options to service client using setOptions API of service client.

ServiceClient sender = new ServiceClient();


So, till now we have created a service client and provided the various options to it, next step is creating the payload of SOAP message that will be send in the web service call. AXIS2 provides AXIOM (AXIS Object model) to create XML Structure. Following code snippet creates the payload message.

OMFactory fac = OMAbstractFactory.getOMFactory();

OMNamespace omNs = fac.createOMNamespace("http://ws.apache.org/axis2", "");

OMElement method = fac.createOMElement("sayHello", omNs); //Method to be invoked.

OMElement value = fac.createOMElement("parameter1", omNs);

value.addChild(fac.createOMText(value, "Sachin" ));


value = fac.createOMElement("parameter2", omNs);

value.addChild(fac.createOMText(value, "Thapa" ));


Finally use the sendReceive API of ServiceClient to send SOAP request and receive response.

OMElement result = sender.sendReceive(method);


The result object contains the response received from the server.

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