Create stand-alone web services applications with Eclipse and Java SE 6, Part 1

The web service server application

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This content is part of the series:Create stand-alone web services applications with Eclipse and Java SE 6, Part 1

Stay tuned for additional content in this series.

Before you start

About this series

This tutorial series demonstrates how to create a stand-alone web services server and client application that you can easily run from the command line with Java SE 6 rather than from within Web application server containers. Using a simple Hello World example, you'll leverage the Eclipse IDE, Java SE 6, and Apache Ant to easily create fully functioning web services server and client applications. You'll also use the TCP/IP Monitor to examine the communication traffic between the server and client, and use the Eclipse Web Services Explorer tool to test the web service.

About this tutorial

This tutorial, Part 1 of the series, introduces you to publishing a web service application using the Eclipse IDE, Java SE 6, and Ant. It lays the groundwork for Part 2, which describes the creation of the web services client application.


After completing this tutorial you should know:

  • What a web service is and the standards it uses in relation to a browser being used from within Eclipse to view the published Web Services Description Language (WSDL) file.
  • How to create the server side of a web service, including how to install and configure the Eclipse IDE and the Java Development Kit (JDK) so that they perform together to generate the code that's compiled using Java SE 6.
  • How to use the Ant Java-based build tool within the Eclipse IDE to run a special Java command to generate some of the code.


This tutorial includes simple steps written for beginning- to intermediate-level Java programmers with some working knowledge of the Java language and Ant builds. Novice to more advanced Java developers will gain some knowledge of how to build, deploy, and run stand-alone web services servers and distributed clients to provide firewall-friendly remote communications and applications processing.

System requirements

To follow the examples, you need to download:

You don't have to download Ant, as its functionality is bundled with Eclipse. This tutorial uses the Ganymede Package for the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers.

Set up your development environment

Install Java SE 6

  1. Download and install the latest Java SE 6 JDK. Java SE 6 has many new features, including web services APIs.
  2. Double-click the executable file and follow the installation instructions. We recommend you perform the typical installation and maintain all default settings, such as location.
  3. When asked, select whether you want to install the Java runtime environment as the system JVM and whether you want any browsers to be associated with the Java plug-in.
  4. Click Finish to install.
  5. Close any browser windows that are open.
  6. When complete, you should be presented with a thank-you message confirming successful installation. Click OK to close.

Note: Installing the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) as the system Java Virtual Machine (JVM) means that it replaces any JVM found in the Microsoft® Windows® directory or places a new copy in there if one is not found. Associating any browsers with the Java plug-in means that this new version of Java will be used for applets.

Install Eclipse

Eclipse is an open source, extensible development platform, which can be installed on almost all operating systems.

Installing Eclipse is fairly straightforward because there's no installation process:

  • Download the Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers.
  • Extract the file to the desired location on your computer. You should then see a folder named eclipse. It's a good idea to create a shortcut to the eclipse.exe file on your desktop for convenience.

Configure Eclipse

When you first run Eclipse, the Welcome page is displayed, as shown in Figure 1. If you don't want to read the Overview and other offerings, simply close that page and come back to it later by selecting Help > Welcome.

Figure 1. Welcome screen
Eclipse Welcome Screen
Eclipse Welcome Screen

Configure Eclipse to use the Java SE 6 JDK you installed earlier; you want to associate your project with this version of Java:

  1. Select Window > Preferences > Java > Installed JREs, and click the Add button.
  2. Enter a name, such as Java SE 6, to easily identify what version it is.
  3. Click the Browse button and locate the directory where JRE 60 was installed.
  4. Click OK (see Figure 2).
    Figure 2. Adding a new JRE
    Adding a new JRE
    Adding a new JRE

    The new JRE should now appear in the list of installed JREs, as shown in Figure 3.
  5. Select the Java SE 6 check box, then click OK.
    Figure 3. Selecting the new JRE
    Selecting the new JRE
    Selecting the new JRE
  6. To set compliance to the installed version of Java, select Window > Preferences > Java > Compiler.
  7. Select 1.6 from the Compiler compliance level drop-down list, as shown in Figure 4.
    Figure 4. Setting compliance
    Setting compliance
    Setting compliance

Create a project

Next you create a project to construct your web services server. A project contains the source code and other related files, and it lets you use the project as the source container or to set up folders inside the project to organize files.

  1. Select File > New > Project.
  2. Expand the Java folder and click Java Project (see Figure 5).
    Figure 5. Creating a project in Eclipse
    Creating a                         project in Eclipse
    Creating a project in Eclipse
  3. Click Next.
  4. Enter a project name, such as wsServerExample, when prompted, as shown in Figure 6.
    Figure 6. Entering project details in Eclipse
    Entering                         project details in Eclipse
    Entering project details in Eclipse
  5. Select the Use default JRE radio button if it was previously selected by default; otherwise select the Use a project specific JRE radio button, ensuring that it's Java SE 6.
  6. Click Finish to associate your project with the Java JDK you installed earlier.
  7. If you're prompted to switch Java perspective, click Yes.

Create the server

First you need to create a Java package to house your Java classes:

  1. Select File > New > Package.
  2. When the New Java Package window opens, enter a name for the package, such as com.myfirst.wsServer, as shown in Figure 7.
    Figure 7. Creating a package
    Creating a Package
    Creating a Package

Next you need to create a class for the server code:

  1. Right-click the package name you just created, then select New > Class. Configure it as shown in Figure 8.
    Figure 8. Creating a class
    Creating a Class
    Creating a Class
  2. Create your class as public with no main method stub.

Now that you've provided your package with a class, you can write the code for the server, as shown in Listing 1.

Listing 1. Server code
package com.myfirst.wsServer;

import javax.jws.WebService;


public class SayHello {
 private static final String SALUTATION = "Hello";
 public String getGreeting( String name ) {
  return SALUTATION + " " + name;

Note the text in bold in Listing 1. This is called an annotation, or metadata, which is used by the Web Services Metadata Specification introduced in Java SE 5. Developers define their classes and methods before applying annotations to them to indicate to the runtime engine how to enable the class and its methods as a web service and web service operations. Java SE 6 comes bundled with such an engine.

The @WebService annotation marks the SayHello class as implementing a web service, which results in a deployable web service being produced. This particular annotation is a WSDL mapping annotation and associates the Java source code to the WSDL elements that represent the web service. (See Resources for more information about other annotations in Java SE 6.)

Generate the server code with Ant

After you've written the server application, you need to generate the web service-supporting code. First, create a new Ant file called build.xml:

  1. Right-click the project and select New > File.
  2. Enter the name build.xml when prompted, then click Finish (see Figure 9).
  3. Make sure this file opens with the Ant Editor by right-clicking it and selecting Open With > Ant Editor. From now on, whenever you double-click this file, it opens with the Ant Editor.
    Figure 9. Creating an Ant file
    Creating an Ant file
    Creating an Ant file
  4. Enter the Ant project shown in Listing 2.
    Listing 2. Ant script
    <project default="wsgen">
     <target name="wsgen" >
      <exec executable="wsgen">
       <arg line="-cp ./bin -keep -s ./src -d ./bin com.myfirst.wsServer.SayHello"/>
  5. To run the Ant build.xml file, right-click Run As and select Ant Build, which executes the Ant file.
  6. Make sure that this results in a BUILD SUCCESSFUL message in the Eclipse Console window, as shown in Figure 10.
    Figure 10. Ant build success
    Ant build                         success
    Ant build success
  7. Return to the Eclipse project and refresh the project by right-clicking wsServerExample and selecting Refresh. You should now see the generated code to run the web service created under the new package called com.myfirst.wsServer.jaxws (see Figure 11).
    Figure 11. Generated code
    Generated                         code

Publish the web service

After you've generated the code for the web service's server, you need to publish it so you can start using it:

  1. Create a new class under the com.myfirst.wsServer package you created, and call it something like RunService.
  2. Right-click the package and select New > Class, but this time select the option to create the main method stub.
  3. Write the code to publish your web service, as shown in Listing 3.

    Listing 3. Publishing code
    package com.myfirst.wsServer;
    public class RunService {
     * @param args
     public static void main(String[] args) {
      System.out.println("SayHello Web Service started.");
      Endpoint.publish("http://localhost:8080/wsServerExample", new SayHello());

    Java SE 6 provides new support for publishing web services. The Endpoint API simply publishes the web service endpoint, which generates the WSDL at run time at a URL.

  4. Run this class by right-clicking it and selecting Run As > Java Application. The Eclipse IDE Console window should display. If it doesn't, select Window > Show View > Console. You should see an indication that the web server has started, as shown in Figure 12.
    Figure 12. Console with the service running
    Console                         with the service running
    Console with the service running

View the WSDL

Now that the server is up and running, you should test it to make sure it's working as expected:

  1. Open the internal Web browser in Eclipse by selecting Window > Show View > Other > General > Internal Web Browser.
  2. type the URL, such as http://localhost:8080/wsServerExample?wsdl, which should display the web service's WSDL text, as shown in Figure 13.

    Figure 13. Console with the internal Web browser
    Console                         with the internal Web browser
    Console with the internal Web browser
  3. When you're finished, you can stop the web service by clicking the red square in the Eclipse Console view. However, to continue the tutorial the web service needs to remain running.

Test the server

Next you use the Eclipse Web Services Explorer tool to invoke the operations of a web service via native WSDL and SOAP to test the getGreeting method of the web service you just created.

  1. You may need to change to the Java EE perspective. Click Window > Open Perspective > Other.
  2. When the window appears, select Java EE.
  3. Select Run > Launch the Web Services Explorer. Maximize the view by double-clicking its tab. You should see the screen shown in Figure 14.

    Figure 14. The Web Services Explorer
    The Web                         Services Explorer
    The Web Services Explorer
  4. Click the icon indicated by the red circle. This displays the WSDL page, as shown in Figure 15.
    Figure 15. WSDL page
    WSDL Page
    WSDL Page
  5. In the Navigator pane, click WSDL Main. The Actions pane is updated, as shown in Figure 16.
  6. Enter the WSDL URL, in this case http://localhost:8080/wsServerExample?wsdl, then click the Go button.
    Figure 16. Entering WSDL URL
    Entering WSDL URL
    Entering WSDL URL
  7. The WSDL should successfully open, and you should see a screen similar to Figure 17.
    Figure 17. Successfully opened WSDL
    Successfully opened WSDL
    Successfully opened WSDL
  8. Next you invoke an operation by clicking getGreeting under Operations (shown in Figure 17). This results in a screen similar to Figure 18.
    Figure 18. Invoking an operation
    Invoking an                         operation
    Invoking an operation
  9. Under getGreeting in the Body section, click the Add link (as shown in Figure 18) to add a new row to the values table.
  10. Enter a name (here, Fiona), and click the Go button.
  11. In the Status section, getGreetingResponse displays the result. You should see a You should see a result like return (string): Hello Fiona (see Figure 19) in the Status section. You might need to scroll or drag the views to see the result.
    Figure 19. Result of the operation
    Operation result
    Operation result


Creating, generating, and publishing a web service server is as simple as using Eclipse and, of course, Java SE 6. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this tutorial series where you'll build the stand-alone client to use with this stand-alone web service server.

Appendix: A brief overview of web services terms and acronyms

Web service

According to W3C, a web service is the "software system designed to support interoperable Machine to Machine interaction over a network." In other words, web services are programmatic interfaces used for application-to-application communication. Typically, they are used as Web applications that enable the communication between computers over a network, such as the Internet.

Clients and servers communicate using XML messages that follow the SOAP standard. That is, web services use XML to code and decode data and SOAP to transport it using open protocols. Two of the basic elements of web services platforms are SOAP and WSDL.


Extensible Markup Language (XML) lets users define their own elements. It's a general purpose specification facilitating the sharing of structured data across different information systems, typically across a network. XML is designed to carry information and not to display it. In other words, XML does not actually do anything other than to structure, store, and transport information; it's just plain text.


SOAP used to stand for Simple Object Access Protocol, but this was dropped in version 1.2 because it was believed to be too misleading. It's a lightweight communication protocol that lets applications exchange information over networks using XML, or more simply, for accessing a web service. SOAP allows applications to communicate with each other regardless of which operating system they're running on and what programming language they were written in.


A WSDL is an application-readable Web Services Description Language. It's used to describe the web service's features and how it should be called by the client application. That is, it describes all the methods and its signatures, the namespaces, plus the handling Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) for the web service in an XML document. The URI names a resource on a network.

Downloadable resources

Related topics

Zone=SOA and web services, Java development, Open source
ArticleTitle=Create stand-alone web services applications with Eclipse and Java SE 6, Part 1: The web service server application