SOA Suite Integration: Part 1: Building a Web Service
By Acshorten-Oracle on Mar 01, 2011
Over the next few weeks I will be posting blog entries outlying the SOA Suite integration of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework. This will illustrate how easy it is to integrate by providing some samples. I will use a consistent set of features as examples. The examples will be simple and while will not illustrate ALL the possibilities it will illustrate the relative ease of integration. Think of them as a foundation. You can obviously build upon them.
Now, to ease a few customers minds, this series will certainly feature the latest version of SOA Suite and the latest version of Oracle Utilities Application Framework but the principles will apply to past versions of both those products. So if you have Oracle SOA Suite 10g or are a customer of Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.1 or above most of what I will show you will work with those versions. It is just easier in Oracle SOA Suite 11g and Oracle Utilities Application Framework V4.x.
This first posting will not feature SOA Suite at all but concentrate on the capability for the Oracle Utilities Application Framework to create Web Services you can use for integration.
The XML Application Integration (XAI) component of the Oracle Utilities Application Framework allows product objects to be exposed as XML based transactions or as Web Services (or both). XAI was written before Web Services became fashionable and has allowed customers of our products to provide a consistent interface into and out of our product line. XAI has been enhanced over the last few years to take advantages of the maturing landscape of Web Services in the market place to a point where it now easier to integrate to SOA infrastructure.
There are a number of object types that can be exposed as Web Services:
- Maintenance Objects – These are the lowest level objects that can be exposed as Web Services. Customers of past versions of the product will be familiar with XAI services based upon Maintenance Objects as they used to be the only method of generating Web Services. These are still supported for background compatibility but are starting to become less popular as they were strict in their structure and were solely attribute based. To generate Maintenance Object based Web Services definition you need to use the XAI Schema Editor component.
- Business Objects – In Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.1 we introduced the concept of Business Objects. These are site or industry specific objects that are based upon Maintenance Objects. These allow sites to respecify, in configuration, the structure and elements of a Maintenance Object and other Business Objects (they are true objects with support for inheritance, polymorphism, encapsulation etc.). These can be exposed as Web Services.
- Business Services – As with Business Objects, we introduced Business Services in Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.1 which allowed applications services and query zones to be expressed as custom services. These can then be exposed as Web Services via the Business Service definition.
- Service Scripts - As with Business Objects and Business Services, we introduced Service Scripts in Oracle Utilities Application Framework V2.1. These allow services and/objects to be combined into complex objects or simply expose common routines as callable scripts. These can also be defined as Web Services.
For the purpose of this series we will restrict ourselves to Business Objects. The techniques can apply to any of the objects discussed above.
Now, lets get to the important bit of this blog post, the creation of a Web Service.
To build a Business Object, you first logon to the product and navigate to the Administration Menu by selecting the Admin Menu from the Menu action on left top of the screen (next to Home). A popup menu will appear with the menu’s available. If you do not see the Admin menu then you do not have authority to use it. Here is an example:
Navigate to the B menu and select the + symbol next to the Business Object menu item. This indicates that you want to ADD a new Business Object. This menu will appear if you are running Alphabetic mode in your installation (I almost forgot that point).
You will be presented with the Business Object maintenance screen. You will fill out the following on the first tab (at a minimum):
- Business Object – The name of the Business Object. Typically you will make it descriptive and also prefix with CM to denote it as a customization (you can easily find it if you prefix it). As I running this on my personal copy of the product I will use my initials as the prefix and call the sample Web Service “AS-User”.
- Description – A short description of the object to tell others what it is used for. For my example, I will use “Anthony Shorten’s User Object”.
- Detailed Description – You can add a long description to help other developers understand your object. I am just going to specify “Anthony Shorten’s Test Object for SOA Suite Integration”.
- Maintenance Object – As this Business Service is going to be based upon a Maintenance Object I will specify the desired Maintenance Object. In this example, I have decided to use the Framework object USER. Now, I chose this for a number of reasons. It is meaningful, simple and is across all our product lines. I could choose ANY maintenance object I wished to expose (including any custom ones, if I had them).
- Parent Business Object – If I was not using a Maintenance Object but building a child Business Object against another Business Object, then I would specify the Parent Business Object here. I am not using Parent’s so I will leave this blank. You either use Parent Business Object or Maintenance Object not both.
- Application Service – Business Objects like other objects are subject to security. You can attach an Application Service to an object to specify which groups of users (remember services are attached to user groups not users) have appropriate access to the object. I will use a default service provided with the product, F1-DFLTS ,as this is just a demonstration so I do not have to be too sophisticated about security.
- Instance Control – This allows the object to create instances in its objects. You can specify a Business Object purely to hold rules. I am being simple here so I will set it to Allow New Instances to allow the Business Object to be used to create, read, update and delete user records.
- The rest of the tab I will leave empty as I want this to be a very simple object. Other options allow lots of flexibility.
The contents should look like this:
Before saving your work, you need to navigate to the Schema tab and specify the contents of your object. I will save some time. When you create an object the schema will only contain the basic root elements of the object (in fact only the schema tag is visible).
When you go to the Schema Tab, on the dashboard you will see a BO Schema zone with a solitary button. This will allow you to Generate the Schema for you from our metadata.
Click on the Generate button to generate a basic schema from the metadata.
You will now see a Schema with the element tags and references to the metadata of the Maintenance object (in the mapField attribute).
I could spend a while outlining all the ways you can change the schema with defaults, formatting, tagging etc but the online help has plenty of great examples to illustrate this. You can use the Schema Tips zone in the for more details of the available customizations.
Note: The tags are generated from the language pack you have installed. The sample is English so the tags are in English (which is the base language of all installations). If you are using a language pack then the tags will be generated in the language of the user that generated the object.
At this point you can save your Business Object by pressing the Save action.
At this point you have a basic Business Object based on the USER maintenance object ready for use but it is not defined as a Web Service yet. To do this you need to define the newly created Business Object as an XAI Inbound Service. The easiest and quickest way is to select + off the XAI Inbound Service off the context menu on the Business Object maintenance screen.
This will prepopulate the service definition with the following:
- Adapter – This will be set to Business Adaptor. This indicates that the service is either Business Object, Business Service or Service Script based.
- Schema Type – Whether the object is a Business Object, Business Service or Service Script. In this case it is a Business Object.
- Schema Name – The name of the object. In this case it is the Business Object AS-User.
- Active – Set to Yes. This means the service is available upon startup automatically. You can enable and disable services as needed.
- Transaction Type – A default transaction type as this is Business Object Service. More about this in later postings. In our case we use the default Read. This means that if we only specify data and not a transaction type then the product will assume you want to issue a read against the object.
You need to fill in the following:
- XAI Inbound Service – The name of the Web Service. Usually people use the same name as the underlying object , in the case of this example, but this can match your sites interfacing standards. By the way you can define multiple XAI Inbound Services/Web Services against the same object if you want.
- Description and Detail Description – Documentation for your Web Service. I just supplied some basic documentation for this demonstration.
You can now save the service definition. Note: There are lots of other options on this screen that allow for behavior of your service to be specified. I will leave them blank for now.
When you save the service you are issued with two new pieces of information. XAI Inbound Service Id is a randomly generated identifier used internally by the XAI Servlet. WSDL URL is the WSDL standard URL used for integration. We will take advantage of that in later posts. An example of the definition is shown below:
Now you have defined the service but it will only be available when the next server restart or when you flush the data cache. XAI Inbound Services are cached for performance so the cache needs to be told of this new service.
To refresh the cache you can use the Admin –> X –> XAI Command menu item.
From the command dropdown select Refresh Registry and press Send Command. You will see an XML of the command sent to the server (the presence of the XML means it is finished).
If you have an error around the authorization, then check your default user and password settings on the XAI Options menu item. Be careful with flushing the cache as the cache is shared (unless of course you are the only Web Service user on the system – In that case it only affects you).
The Web Service is NOW available to be used.
To perform a simple test of your new Web Service, navigate to the Admin –> X –> XAI Submission menu item.
You will see an open XML request tab.
You need to type in the request XML you want to test in the Main tab. The first tag is the XAI Inbound Service Name and the elements are as per your schema (minus the schema tag itself as that is only used internally).
My example is as follows (I want to return the details of user SYSUSER) – Remember to close tags.
Hitting the Save button will issue the XML and return the response according to the Business Object schema.
Now before you panic, you noticed that it did not ask for credentials. It propagates the online credentials to the service call on this function.
You now have a Web Service you can use for integration. We will reuse this information in subsequent posts.
The process I just described can be used for ANY object in the system you want to expose. This whole process at a minimum can take under a minute. Obviously I only showed the basics but you can at least get an appreciation of the ease of defining a Web Service (just by using a browser). The next posts now build upon this.
Hope you enjoyed the post.