WSDL Tutorial

Our Web Services Description Language (WSDL) tutorial provides the tips, expert advice, news, trends and products you need to get started with or optimize your use of WSDL.

Our Web Services Description Language (WSDL) tutorial provides the tips, expert advice, news, trends and products you need to get started with or optimize your of use WSDL.

What is WSDL?
How to use WSDL
WSDL news, trends, and products

The Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is an XML based language used to describe the services offered by a business and provides a way for other businesses to access those services electronically. Services listed in The Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) registry are described using WSDL. WSDL is frequently used with SOAP and XML schema to provide Web services over the Internet.

WSDL 1.1 was developed between IBM, Microsoft, and Ariba to describe Web services for their specific object access protocol (SOAP) toolkit. WSDL 1.2 was drafted in 2003, but was renamed WSDL 2.0 and became a W3C recommendation in 2007 because it was substantially different from WSDL 1.1. If you have to choose between WSDL 1.1 and WSDL 2.0, make sure to consider the advantages of each.

Once you choose to use it, make sure you know what WSDL is capable of. WSDL is a powerful description language, but because it is also machine readable it can generate client stubs and server skeletons. Using WSDL to describe a service before it is coded can also streamline the application development process.

There are many tools to help optimize your use of WSDL. The Eclipse Foundation's Web Tools Platform, for example, allows a developer to make a WSDL in a graphical interface. Crosscheck Networks created WSDL Report Card, a product to test WSDLs for functionality and policy conformance.

No matter the tools you have, it's hard to make a WSDL for a RESTful service. WSDL 1.1, after all, was specifically designed to describe services built using SOAP. In response, the Web Application Development Language (WADL) was created to easily describe RESTful services. But WSDL 2.0 is more compatible with both SOAP and REST and, with its W3C recommendation, competes stiffly with WADL for popularity among developers.
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What is WSDL?
WSDL (Web Services Description Language) is an XML-based language used to describe the services a business offers and to provide a way for individuals and other businesses to access those services electronically.

XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a flexible way to create common information formats and share both the format and the data on the Web, intranets, and elsewhere.

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) is a way for a program running in one kind of operating system to communicate with a progam in the same or another kind of an operating system by using HTTP and its XML to exchange information.

UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) is an XML-based registry for businesses worldwide to list themselves on the Internet. Its goal is to enable companies to find one another on the Web and make their systems interoperable for e-commerce.

WSDL template
Not sure how to begin? Use this template for creating your own WSDLs to get started.
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How to use WSDL
What is WSDL for?
Start here if you're new to WSDL and wondering what you can do with it. find out how this powerful descriptor can help your application development.

Performance capabilities in a WSDL
What sort of performance information should you look to include in a WSDL? Find out from an expert.

WSDL 1.1 vs WSDL 2.0
Wonder whether there is any compelling reason to use the new 2.0 version of WSDL rather than the more common 1.1 version? Read the answer from our WSDL expert.

SOA's Role in centralized data diction for messages in WSDLs
Learn what a centralized data dictionary for messages in WSDL is. Then find out whether it's a good idea to have an enterprise data dictionary or if you're defeating the whole notion of SOA.

How do SOAP and WSDL work together?
SOAP and WSDL are related and complementary standards for web services, and they are typically used together. Find out how from our WSDL expert.

Service contracts and loose coupling with WSDL
In the Web services world, services are formally defined with WSDL, and collectively form a service contract that defines each service's role to the others. Because this contract is shared amongst services, its design is extremely important in designing a loosely coupled SOA.
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WSDL news, trends, and products
On the road to SOA: Boubez on early insights
SOA pioneer Toufic Boubez talks about the early development of SOA. Learn how trends with WSDL, SOAP and REST shaped SOA as we know it today.

WADL: The REST answer to WSDL
For SOAP Web services, descriptors based on Web Services Description Language (WSDL) form a fundamental piece of their actual design. Enter WADL, a similar description language to WSDL, but strictly targeting the requirements of RESTful services. Read more about WADL and take a look at a sample descriptor in this article.

WSDLs get a report card
How do SOA developers know if the WSDL they created will actually work and more importantly conform to their company's policies? The WSDL Report Card testing tool gives WSDLs school-style grades based on their adherence to customizable corporate SOA policies.

soapUI software tool to tame WSDL tiger
The soapUI software has gained a tremendous amount of traction in recent years as a suitable means to tame the WSDL tiger. It is a Java-based SOAP testing tool offered under GNU LGPL. In effect, it consumes a WSDL, and validates its behavior.

Eclipse Ganymede: Web Tools build SOA foundation
The Eclipse Ganymede Web Tools Platform includes features that let a user view a WSDL in a graphical interface and zoom in and out to closely view individual sections of the document or get the big picture on a single screen.
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