WASP gives Web services development some sting
WASP Server and Developer tools handle real-world Web services management
The buzz on WASP Server and Developer
Deploying and running Web services is only part of the story. They must also be managed. WASP Server’s HTTP-based administrative console provides four main areas of functionality.
First, the Domains and Servers panel allows multiple servers to be managed from the same console and creates logical groupings of servers called “security domains.” Second, the Web Services panel allows new Web services to be deployed and already-deployed packages to be enabled, disabled, migrated to another server, cloned to a different server, or undeployed. Plus a debugging console helps to see behind the scenes of server interactions.
Third, the Preferences panel allows the administrator to control transport and security. Various transport parameters can be changed for any transport mechanisms installed on the server and new transport mechanisms can be added. There is also a section for managing security properties. Finally, a fourth panel manages several utility services for UDDI publishing and WSDL-to-Java conversion.
The management console is comprehensive and easy to use, and users can extend the console to provide custom functionality. Plus system administrators responsible for managing a cluster of run-time servers will appreciate that multiple servers can be managed from a single console.
The WASP Server contains everything you need to build and deploy Web services if you like using the command line. On the IDE side, Systinet provides a set of plug-ins, called WASP Developer, for Eclipse, JBuilder, and Sun ONE Studio to aid in the development and deployment of Web services.
I tested the plug-in that runs in the popular, open-source Eclipse IDE. It’s a full-featured IDE, and the addition of the WASP Developer plug-in makes it a great platform for developing Web services. What’s more, Eclipse and the WASP Developer plug-in are both free, so you can’t beat the price. I installed and used Eclipse and WASP Developer on both Windows XP and Apple OS X under Java 1.4.1 with no problems.
Using WASP Developer was fairly simple. When you create a new project, you identify it as a Web Services Project. That adds certain menu items that allow you to deploy Java classes as Web services, generate client-side stubs, and create WSDL documents from the Java class. WASP Developer also includes a fully functional version of WASP Server that runs inside the IDE and provides a convenient testing environment.
Both WASP Server and WASP Developer come with a tool called SOAPSpy which intercepts and displays SOAP message traffic. This is handy as a teaching tool to understand what’s going on on the wire and is also useful for debugging. The tools work by creating a generic proxy for SOAP messages; when the client routes the call through the proxy, SOAPSpy intercepts it and records it for inspection.
Good tools make the difference
Good tools speed the adoption of complex technologies. Integration of the server and development tools into the IDE in WASP Developer is especially important as it creates a credible counterpoint in the Java world to Microsoft’s Visual Studio .Net.
There are numerous Web service run-time environments available from various sources. What sets WASP Server and Developer apart is their polished tone and comprehensive feature set. The pricing model for Systinet’s products makes it clear that they are willing to bet that their tools will make Web services accessible and widely used.