Skip to main content
Jump to: navigation, search

WTP/Service Interface and Data Types Editors/Proposal

The Service Interface & Data Types Editors project is a proposed open source project under the WTP Incubator project.

This proposal is in the Project Proposal Phase (as defined in the Eclipse Development Process) and is written to declare its intent and scope. We solicit additional participation and input from the Eclipse community. Please send all feedback to the Webtools incubator forum.


An example of a diagram created by the JPA editor

The Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) 1.1[1] has been used world-wide for the definition of Web Services ensuring well-defined, system-independent and interoperable contracts for reliable communication among different structures and organizations thus being the foundation of many industry specific solutions in the area of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Business Process Management (BPM). The primary type-system, utilized for definition of data types within a WS interface as part of an operation signature, has been the XML Schema Definition (XSD) [2][3]. As such the XML-based WSDL 1.1 and XSD artifacts are integral to the development of scalable business (A2C, B2B, etc.) solutions in distributed environment. In addition the XSD has become a prominent way to describe and validate XML documents in many use-cases, which are outside the scope of the Web Service provisioning one, e.g. data-base schema description, arbitrary XML documents validation, etc. 

Yet the complexity of the aforementioned XML dialects imply considerable difficulties and a steep learning curve when it comes to the definition / modification of WSDL 1.1 and XSD models. The currently existing tooling in the Eclipse WTP project, although full-featured in terms of specification-support, does not do much to hide this complexity and has been considered to be too technology-centric by the average SOA developer. In addition it seems to be distributed in several editors and views, which to some extent makes the navigation a bit harder. 

The feedback of a number of end-users, experienced in the development and maintenance of SOA/BPM-based applications, points out that they need a compact UI modeling toolset, which only gives them access to the most common entities defined in the WSDL and XSD specifications and makes it easier for them to quickly create and modify Web Service contracts and XSD artifacts. As part of it the early error detection and resolution as well as the rich refactoring capabilities seem to play a quite important role in the development process.

The Service Interface and Data Types editors are Eclipse form-based editors, which fully satisfy these requirements, providing easy-to-use, unified user interface and facilitating developers with quick and efficient application development in all WS and XSD related areas. In order not to restrict WSDL and XSD experts to the visual-editing capabilities of the tooling they also provide feature rich text-editing capabilities based on the WTP Structured Text Editor.


The project is based on the Graphiti, which is also a proposed open source project. Graphiti is a framework based on GEF and EMF for creating graphical diagram tools. The JPA editor project provides a graphical diagram editor as part of the Eclipse IDE, which allows the user to create, view and edit her business model as part of Java EE application project.

Providing the JPA Diagram editor as integral part of the JPA Dali tools is in the scope of this proposal.

Extending the existing Dali API is out of the scope of this proposal. The editor will use the Dali API, but it won’t change and/or extend it.

This editor is targeted to Java EE (and particularly JPA) developers who use Eclipse and provides them with a graphical tool for visualizing and manipulating Java EE application business model.


Service Interface Editor

  • Service Interface modification
  • Define namespace
  • Define operation
  • Define input/output/fault messages
  • Select type for input/output/fault
  • Documentation field
  • Embedded Data Types Editor for advanced Data Types manipulation of inline types
  • Source tab (WSDL 1.1 source modification)
  • In-place / document validations
    • WSDL 1.1
    • WS Interoperability
    • XSD
  • Refactoring
  • Re-use of externally defined data types

Data Type Editor

  • Types creation, modification, inheritance
    • Simple & structure
    • Elements
    • Attributes
  • Define type name & namespace
  • Define type cardinality and constraints
  • Documentation
  • Source tab (XSD source modification)
  • In-place / document validations
    • XSD
  • Refactoring (Renaming of all possible entities, Copy & Paste of all possible schema entities, etc.)
  • Re-use of externally defined data types

The editor will avoid as much as possible opening of dialogs and wizards. The idea is to use simple operations as ‘drag-and-drop’ and ‘in-diagram’ direct editing (of text). The palette on the right side will allow the user to create entities and relations between them with ‘drag-and-drop’ and ‘point-and-click’. The user will be allowed to create from the palette new entities which inherit java.lang.Object, mapped superclasses or some other entities. The user will be able also to create XML defined entities. The JPA entities will be presented by rectangles and attributes will appear in these rectangles with their names and icons. On mouse over context buttons will appear providing basic operations. The operations which are not available through context buttons will be available through context menus.

Context buttons for basic operations
Additional operations available in context menus

The editor will show validation markers and messages. The attributes will be separated in different compartments and any different entity or compartment can be collapsed or expanded.

The diagram will be persisted in a file in xml format.

A certain preference page on the global level and a property page on project level will allow the user to set some specific JPA diagram options.

The JPA details view will be integrated with the JPA Diagram editor. It would be possible to open it through a context menu command and it will reflect the selected diagram objects – entities or attributes.

A fragment of the diagram presenting various visual features
Some of the compartments or the whole entity can be collapsed

A miniature view will be available for opening through a context menu command and will allow the user to see a miniaturized image of the diagram.

It will be possible to create one (or more) diagrams per JPA enabled project. It will also be possible to create diagrams which unite entities from more than one project.

Since it’s possible for a diagram to become very big the user will be allowed to define logical areas in a diagram. It will be possible for the user easily to visualize/hide only those parts of a diagram which she/he wants to.

The diagram will visualize the merged Java annotated classes/XML model and will allow the user transparently to modify the both.


Watch the short introductory screencast:

Relationship with Other Eclipse Projects

The Service Interface & Data Types Editors are form-based WSDL 1.1 and XSD editors based on Eclipse EMF, MDT XSD and WTP.

They consist of

  • Data Types Editor - a standalone XSD editor
  • Service Interface Editor - a standalone WSDL 1.1 editor embedding the Data Types Editor for providing capabilities of visualizing and manipulating inline XSD schemas and their underlying entities

Technical Dependencies

  • Eclipse Modeling Framework
    • Core
    • Model Query
    • Model Transaction
    • Validation Framework
  • Eclipse Model Development Tools XSD
  • Eclipse Web Tools Platform
    • WST WSDL Model
    • WTP Source Editing

Initial Contribution

The initial code contribution will come from SAP where the Service Interface & Data Types Editors have been originally developed. They will provide the functionality described in the Description section.


The following individuals are going to be proposed as initial committers to the project:

  • Dimitar Tenev
  • Emil Simeonov


The following Architecture Council members will mentor this project:

  • TBD

Interested Parties

The following individuals, organizations, companies and projects have expressed interest in this project:

  • SAP
  • WTP (TBD)

Project Scheduling (Sample Proposal, i.e. TBD)

  • July - August 2010 – Project proposal
  • August - September 2010 – Infrastructure setup, initial contribution
  • October 2010 – First Milestone release
  • October 2010 – February 2011 – respond on community feedback, graduate in the Web Tools Platform
  • June 2011 – Release as part of the 2011 simultaneous release train

Copyright © Eclipse Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.