Creating a WSDL resource retriever for Service Resource

After developing a web-service using the Service resource from the TIBCO Designer palette (ver. 5.6) we need to develop a resource retriever to allow clients to access the service WSDL.

The basic idea behind getting the WSDL for a Service resource web-service is to use the SOAP Retrieve Resources activity (found within the SOAP menu) and point it to the Service resource for the web-service with the filter set to “wsdl”.

The screenshot below shows the basic process for retrieving the WSDL. We will use the HTTP Receiver process starter connected with the SOAP Retrieve Resources which sends its output to Send HTTP Response activity.


Here is how it works:

  1. A HTTP Receiver forwards the incoming request to a SOAP Retrieve Resources activity (SOAP-RRA).
  2. The SOAP-RRA retrieves the WSDL text and outputs it to the Send HTTP Response activity.
  3. The Send HTTP Response activity then sends the WSDL text as response to the HTTP request received by the HTTP Receiver.
  4. The process ends.

The HTTP Receiver will need an HTTP Connection to complete the configuration.

The key thing here is to configure the SOAP-RRA correctly. The HTTP Receiver even though connected to the SOAP-RRA provides no input to it.

Click on the SOAP-RRA and go to the Input tab in the properties (see the screenshot above). In the Activity Input section we need to configure the resourcePath and filter values.

The reourcePath should point to the Service resource. To get the Service resource path right-click the Service resource for the web-service whose WSDL is required and click on inspect resource.

The Resource Inspector window that pops up will show the resource path for the Service resource (see marked area in screenshot below). Remember to enclose the path in double-quotes!


In the filter value type in “wsdl” (double quotes included) as we want the WSDL to be retrieved.

SOAP-RRA connects next to the Send HTTP Response activity. We connect the resourceData output from SOAP-RRA to the Send HTTP Response asciiContent input as shown in the screenshot below.


The Send HTTP Response activity connects to the End Process activity which completes the process.

Testing the Retriever Process

To test the process start the process tester. Make sure you select the retriever process we have just created AS WELL AS the Service resource for the web-service whose WSDL is being retrieved.

Open up the browser and type in the address defined in the HTTP Connection used for the HTTP Receiver.

The WSDL should pop-up in the browser and if you check the process tester you will find the retriever process would have fired once.

Developing Web-Services with TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks


In this post we are going to talk about developing web-services in TIBCO ActiveMatrix BusinessWorks (AMBW). We will be using the following software:

1) TIBCO Designer 5.6 to develop and test-deploy the web-service

2) SOAP-UI 3.0.1 (Freeware) to test the web-service

We are going to be looking at web-service development from a conceptual point of view rather than concentrating on specific implementations.

The TIBCO AMBW Process Design Guide and the Palette Reference do an excellent job of describing web-service implementations.

Before we get into web-service development in TIBCO AMBW let us just review what goes into developing a web-service. As there are many excellent books on web-services out there this section will be restricted to a brief overview.

A web-service consists of three basic components:

  1. Description – all the information about the web-service, including how to invoke it.
  2. Protocol – how to communicate with the web-service.
  3. Implementation – how to implement the operations defined by the web-service.

The Description of a web-service needs to address both, the abstract interface as well as its concrete implementation. As we all know this description is contained in the WSDL file associated with the web-service. With modern tools it is very easy to create client stubs for web-services using just the WSDL.

The WSDL also acts as a contract between the service provider and the consumer. Therefore a skeleton of the web-service implementation can also be created using just the WSDL. This approach towards service development is called the ‘contract-first’ approach where you define the interface before defining the implementation.

The opposite of the above process i.e. ‘implementation-first’ approach allows easy exposure of existing functionality as a web-service.

TIBCO AMBW allows for both styles of web-service development.

Before we go any further it will help to review the structure of a WSDL document.

There are two ways of implementing a web-service in TIBCO AMBW:

1) Service Resource

2) SOAP Event Source process starter

Which route you take depends on your specific requirements as well as the current state of development.

You would ideally use a SOAP Event Source process starter to expose a single process as a web-service over a single transport protocol. In case you need to expose multiple processes over multiple transport protocols and have a clean separation between web-service definition and implementation, use the Service Resource.

I will first focus on using the Service Resource as it (in my opinion) is a cleaner way of doing things and conforms well to the philosophy behind web-services of separation of interface and implementation.

SOAP Event Source will be covered in another post.

Now from the TIBCO AMBW Process Design Guide we have:

“A service joins an abstract WSDL interface to a concrete implementation and exposes them on one or more endpoints”

There are three main steps in setting up a web-service using the Service Resource:

1) Define the service interface using the WSDL and Schema Resource – involves definition of the abstract part of the WSDL as well as defining schema for input and output data using the Schema Resource

2) Setup the endpoint bindings to expose the service.

3) Implement the operations defined in the web-service.

Figure 1 shows the mapping between TIBCO AMBW components and various components of a web-service (as represented in the WSDL).


Figure 1: Mapping between TIBCO AMBW components and various components of a web-service.

Request Context

As the Service Resource separates the service definition from the implementation, there might be a requirement to access the ‘context’ of the request by the implementing process. This ‘context’ could be the client’s digital signature (for authentication) or something simpler like a client ID. The Context Resource allows us to do just this. We can define a schema to store the relevant ‘context’ which can then be accessed by the implementing process using the GetContext and SetContext activities.


I will take the example of a simple web-service for Customer Information Management (add and retrieve customer information). The web-service will contain two operations:

  1. Add Customer Information (name, age and ID).
  2. Retrieve Customer Information using Customer ID with a Request ID for logging purposes.

To get the customer information we supply the customer ID and a request ID to the web-service which will return the customer information.

To add information for a new customer we will supply the customer information (id, name and age).

Going back to the three step process for implementing a web-service using the Service Resource:

Step 1: Defining the web-service interface

We will use the Schema Resource and the WSDL Resource to define the web-service interface including the operations and the associated input/output schema.

The Schema

Firstly create the Schema for the input and output messages using the Schema Resource (within the XML menu).

Below we can see a simple CustomerInformation schema which defines the customer information structure (for both retrieval and addition) as well as a CustomerInformationRequest schema which defines the structure of the incoming request for customer information.


The Web-service Interface using WSDL

Next we define the interface for the web-service using the schema we defined above and a WSDL resource.

We will first define the input and output messages using the schema and then use them to define the operations. All the required resources are in the WSDL menu.

Create a new WSDL resource and double-click it. Add two new Messages: CustomerInformationRequest and CustomerInformation. The output message for the retrieve information operation has the same schema as the input for the add information operation.

Next we define the operations using previously defined Messages. Add a PortType resource to start defining operations. Double click the PortType resource and add two new Operations: AddCustomer and RequestCustomer.

In the AddCustomer operation configuration, add an input message with the message schema set to CustomerInformation (we are now connecting the schema with the interface). We don’t need any output message for this operation.

In the RequestCustomer operation configuration, add an input message with message schema set to CustomerInformationRequest and the output message with message schema set to CustomerInformation.

This can be seen in the screenshot below.


You will notice that till now we have been defining only the interface of the web-service (namely the operations and messages). We have not spoken about things like which transport protocol to use or the style of the web-service (document vs. RPC).

The next step is to use the Service resource to configure the concrete endpoints using the interface we have just defined. After that in the final step we will use the Service resource to join the abstract interface of the service with the actual implementation of the operations.

Step 2: Implementing the service endpoints using Service Resource

Add a Service resource from the Service menu.

The first thing we need to do is to give this service a ‘face’ (in other words define which interface it is going to ‘implement’).

Double-click it and within the Configuration tab click on the ‘+’ button in the ‘Implementation’ section. In the window that pops up locate the WSDL file (on the left side) with the abstract interface that you have defined in Step 1. The PortType, Namespace and Operations will be loaded from the WSDL on the right hand side. This is shown in the screenshot below.


Check the operations and the input and output for them. Click on ‘OK’.

The Service resource should contain a whole lot of new stuff now (see screenshot below). In Configuration tab, the Implementation will have two tabs: Operations and Endpoint Bindings.


The next thing to do is to create the endpoint for the service. This involves defining style and encoding of the service and the operations and selecting the transport for the service.

Click the ‘Endpoint Bindings’ tab and then the ‘+’ to add a new endpoint. Change the Endpoint Type to SOAP and two more tabs will come up: Transport and SOAP Details.

Transport tab requires you to select a HTTP connection (as we are going for SOAP over HTTP in this example), which is required to host the service. Once the transport connection is set up you will see the Endpoint URI appear below it.

Next move to the SOAP Details tab. Define the default service style (document or RPC – in present example document) and the styles and encoding for the different operations within the service (in our case document – literal). You can set style to ‘Use Default Style’ to make your life easier in case of multiple operations.

The screenshot below shows this.


The final step is to go ahead and implement the operations we have defined in interface.

Step 3: Implementing the service operations

Firstly we create the processes for adding customer information and requesting customer information. The only thing I will say about creating the processes is that the Start and End activities must have their outputs and inputs same as the WSDL messages setup for the corresponding web-service operation.

For example the process to handle request for customer information (i.e. RequestCustomerOperation) should have output for the Start activity a WSDL message: CustomerInformationRequest (that is the input going in to the RequestCustomerOperation). Same goes for the input to the End activity which should be a WSDL message: CustomerInformation.

Go back up to the Operations tab and click on the ‘binocular’ button in the Operation Implementation column next to the operation to be implemented. All processes which have input and output WSDL messages matching the operation to be implemented will be shown in the window that pops up. Select the relevant processes. Do the same for all the operations defined in the interface.

The screenshot below shows the two operations for the example being implemented.



Everything is now set for the web-service to be tested. But before we test the service it is worthwhile to see the WSDL for the service that we have just created. Go to the WSDL Source tab in the Service resource. This is the WSDL for the service. You will need this file to create a test client.

There are two ways to give a client access to the WSDL. First is to setup a WSDL retrieval process using SOAP Retrieve Resources resource with a HTTP Receiver process starter. Then the client will be able to download the WSDL as normal. The second option is to save the WSDL file (by clicking on Save WSDL in WSDL Source) and providing a local copy to the client.

We shall use SOAP UI  (free edition) to test the TIBCO web-service. We setup a new SOAP UI project with a local copy of the WSDL file. SOAP UI creates test requests for the web-service as a part of the project setup.

Make sure in the TIBCO Designer the Service resource and the processes implementing the operations have been selected and run.

In SOAP-UI, go to the test request for the operation to be tested and double-click it. A blank request will open up with ‘?’ where you need to fill in data to complete the request.

After filling in the data, execute the request by pressing the green ‘play’ button. On the right-hand side you will see the response of the request (if the operation has a response). In case of an error you will see an error response.

The screenshot below shows a test of the RequestCustomerOperation. The customer information request sent is on the left-hand side and the response from the example web-service received on the right-hand side.



Hope this limited example has explained how to setup a basic web-service in TIBCO AMBW using the Service resource. There are several things that I have left out including using the SOAP Event Source process starter, using Contexts and retrieval of WSDL. All these topics deserve complete posts in themselves that is why I aim to cover them as and when I get the time!

Note: If you are going to deploy to BW engine then you will need to create an archive file (.ear). Remember to include the Service Resource (if you are using it) in the Process Archive starter processes before building the archive.

Please leave comments and suggestions.


Have added a new post on WSDL retrieval for Service resource-based web-service.

Structure of a Web-Services Description Language (WSDL) Document


Structure of a WSDL document:


– Port definition

   – soap:address


– soap:binding

– operation

   – soap:operation

      – input

          – soap:body

      – output

          – soap:body


– operation

   – input

   – output


– part



Figure 1: WSDL Structure – visual representation of various sections of a WSDL and the relationships between them.

Any WSDL document is a combination of an abstract service interface and its concrete implementation.

The PortType section represents the service in an abstract way, similar to an ‘interface’ in object-oriented programming (OOP). In other words, it lays down the ‘contract’ between the service provider and the consumer by listing the various operations supported by the web-service as well as the required input and the resulting output of each operation. The inputs and outputs are listed as messages which are described in the Message section of the WSDL.

The Binding section is similar to an interface implementation in OOP. The ‘type’ attribute in the Binding tag points to the PortType  name which is being implemented.

The thing to keep in mind is that the Binding section is where the abstract web-service contract is implemented or realised. Thus, among other things the Binding section describes operational level details such as which protocol to use for transporting SOAP packets (usually HTTP) and how the web-service will be called (style and encoding).

The Service section describes one or more concrete ‘endpoints’ where the functionality of the service can be found.

Figure 1 shows these various sections of the WSDL and how they connect with each other.

Finally the Types section contains schema information for the various inputs and outputs from the web-service operations.