Review: Cape Clear SOA Editor

Cape Clear SOA Editor 4.8
Cape Clear Software
Waltham, Massachusetts
(781) 622-2258

Remember Web services? They got all the buzz a couple of years ago, and then the enthusiasm died down a bit. But the end result was to have plenty of competent developers working on Web services, and gradually a body of knowledge has built up around them. One tenet that many of the top Web services developers agree on is "WSDL first": build the contract before you build the code. That can cause a small problem, though, if you don't have an editor that lets you easily create WSDL files.

Enter the Cape Clear SOA Editor. This free tool (split off from Cape Clear's larger suite of Web service tools that do things like integration, testing, and code generation), the SOA Editor exists simply to create, validate, and otherwise work with WSDL files. They've packed a good many features into this java-based tool. Some of my favorites:

  • Open WSDL files from disk, from a URL, or by searching a UDDI registry
  • Three different views. The Graphical view uses panels of controls suited to each part of the WSDL file, making it trivial to make legal edits. The Text view shows you the raw WSDL. The Simplified view uses XSLT and CSS to show you a pretty, understandable version of the file.
  • HTML documentation generation.
  • Validation that flags errors for you and tells you what to fix.
  • Excellent tools for working with existing schemas.

The documentation here (a 100+ PDF manual) deserves special notice, since it's not just a rundown of how to use the application. It's also got a good explanation of why WSDL first and Service Oriented Architecture make sense, and a great dissection of the parts of a WSDL file. This makes for good reference material even if you don't end up using the application for some reason.

The program works well and quickly on my test machine with the 1.4.2 JRE installed. If you're doing work with Web services, this is a tool you'll want to grab.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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