Apache CXF and Glassfish Metro for consuming web services

September 6, 2007

For a project I need to call some web services for which there is a WSDL schema. I have briefly looked at some contenders and only took consuming of web services into account and not the producing of web services,

I decided to go the JAX-WS route, since this appears to become a standard: JSR 224. Java 6 will have it as a feature.

The JAX-WS choice does mean that Axis2 cannot be used. I don’t really mind since I’ve experienced some real pain there in previous projects. I’m not the only one. Hani sums it up nicely.

JAX-WS contenders

A bit of googling looked like the contenders are:

  • JBossWS
  • CXF
  • Metro

Because it seemed I was the first one using the here unnamed web services, I first decided to play with Amazon web services, because documentation and examples for Amazon web services are widely available.
This excellent article explains how to use AWS ECS with Metro and with CXF. I did not go for the ANT route and used wsdl2java and wsimport.sh. to generate the Java code.


JBossWS seems a bit tied to JBoss 5 and because I need to work with JBoss 4.0.5, I ignored that option.

Since I will consume a webservice, I feel that JBossWS could still be viable. However the pain I had converting the CXF Geronimo stuff to JBoss stuff (more on that later), confirmed my suspicion that JBossWS would not be an easy route in my environment. This is not to say that when using JBoss 5, you cannot have total bliss with JBossWS.


CXF is still an Apache incubator project. It is a merge of XFire and Celtix. The wsdl2java script did run without problems. When you want to use the generated code you need the following jars, according to the documentation:

  • cxf.jar
  • commons-logging.jar
  • geronimo-activation.jar (Or the Sun equivalent)
  • geronimo-annotation.jar (Or the Sun equivalent)
  • geronimo-javamail.jar (Or the Sun equivalent)
  • neethi.jar
  • jaxb-api.jarv
  • jaxb-impl.jar
  • stax-api.jar
  • XmlSchema.jar
  • wstx-asl.jar
  • xml-resolver.jar
  • jaxws-api.jar
  • saaj-api.jar
  • saaj-impl.jar

I could call ECS without any problems, however the Geronimo jars were a thorn in my eye, I tried to replace them with a JBoss equivalent. I entered a world of pain. With jboss.org.lang.Annotation problems (update JBossWS) and then javax.annotation.PostConstruct problems.
So I concluded that it was not possible to remove the Geronimo jars. Upgrading to the latest JBossWS implementation got me dependent on JBoss 5 it seemed, which is no option.
So if you can live with Geronimo jars and 15 jars in total, give or take a few (removing 1 or 2 seems not to break anything) then you are good to go.

Although I ran into the same observation as Glen Mazza. jaxws:enableWrapperStyle not working in CXF


I downloaded the standalone version instead of a complete Glassfish distribution.
I had to alter the wsimport.sh script, because WSImport needs JAF. I added the activation.jar from the JBoss distribution to the classpath in the wsimport.sh script. The generated code enabled me to call ECS without any problems.
I needed the following jars:

  • webservices-extra.jar
  • webservices-rt.jar
  • webservcies-api.jar

Compared to CXF, Metro just seems more environment friendly. Of course this could be complete rubbish, since those three jars can be completely bloated with everything but the kitchen sink.

For now I will use Metro and see how this will go.