Geertjan's Blog

  • July 3, 2006

Yet Another Visual Editor for NetBeans IDE

Geertjan Wielenga
Product Manager
In Forget XML! Use a NetBeans IDE Visual Editor instead..., I wrote about the web.xml Visual Editor. It lets you define the content of the web.xml file without being required to know what tags are mandatory, optional, etc. Also, even for those familiar with all the tags, it makes sure that you don't make needless errors, such as not closing tags correctly and so on—the editor does that part for you. There are similar editors for other XML files, such as for the sun-web.xml file.

In NetBeans IDE 5.5 there'll be a new editor, for a very different file—the WSDL file, which defines the contract between web services and their clients. It will be used in different ways, by different modules:

  • Firstly, web services and clients that are generated from WSDL files will have the new editor (the "Web Service Attributes Editor") at their disposal for customizing WSDL extensibility elements for JAX-WS web services. For example, you can override default names for classes and methods defined in the WSDL file so that the generation of artifacts will result in files with names that are tuned to your environment. Another example are asynchronous web service clients, which can be enabled in the Web Service Attributes Editor, as described in the Asynchronous JAX-WS Web Service Client End-to-End Scenario tutorial. Here is the panel in the editor that is dedicated to customizing the WSDL file for JAX-WS web services (JAX-RPC web services will be customizable as before, via the Project Properties dialog box):

  • Secondly, when you use "Project Tango" (the marketing name for the "Web Services Interoperability Features (WSIT)"), you'll be able to customize WSIT configuration files, which feed into their related WSDL file, by means of this editor. You might, for example, want to set options that relate to "message reliability". This you can also do in the new "Web Service Attributes Editor". The "Security" panel that you see behind the "WSDL Customization" panel above is one of the panels provided by WSIT.

  • Thirdly, as described in the Securing Web Services tutorial, the NetBeans Enterprise Pack 5.5 Early Access release comes with a panel, also in the "Web Service Attributes Editor", that lets you enable SAML-based authentication between web services and web service clients. (Although, I don't understand how this is different to the security that Project Tango provides.)

Tip: Just like in the web.xml Visual Editor, each section and subsection of the new editor will have a help topic dedicated to it. So if, for example, you press F1 while "Bindings" is selected, as shown in the screenshot above, a topic that discusses "Bindings" is displayed. When you click the Help button in the bottom right corner, you get a more general description of the editor.

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