Metadata Exchange in WSIT

The milestone 2 release of WSIT includes some "behind the scenes" changes in the way endpoint metadata can be exchanged. All WSIT endpoints can now respond to metadata exchange ("Mex") requests to obtain the wsdl and schema information. These requests are small soap messages requesting the endpoint's data. They are nothing more than an action header and an empty body, and the endpoint responds with a mex response containing wsdl and schema documents.

On the client side, wsimport can use the mex code to make requests to the service for metadata. While this is normally transparent to the user, if you're running wsimport while using a traffic monitor (such as wsmonitor) you may see these messages.

Normally, wsimport will make mex requests when you give the address of the endpoint itself such as "http://example.com/myservice." In the past, you would have to use a "?wsdl" at the end of the address to specify the WSDL location. With mex, you can still give wsimport the WSDL location, or you can use the endpoint location. In this latter case, wsimport with mex will try various mex requests: for instance, a soap 1.2 attempt followed by a soap 1.1 attempt. If these all fail, meaning that you're trying an endpoint that doesn't support mex, wsimport will default to trying the HTTP Get call to the address with "?wsdl" appended.

These mex requests and responses allow greater flexibility in how metadata is obtained, and pave the way for obtaining metadata with other transports in the future.

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