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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.


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 selected set of the most commonly used 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

A standalone, multi-page, form-based Eclipse editor for modification of WSDL 1.1 documents, which gives UI modeling access to selected features of WSDL 1.1 aiming to provide exceptional ease-of-use and to boost developers' productivity. It opens files with *.wsdl extension contained in the Eclipse workspace.
A WSDL 1.1 PortType being modeled with the Service Interface Editor
The modification of in-line XSD schemas (embedded Data Types 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 A standalone, multi-page, form-based Eclipse editor for modification of XSD documents, which gives UI modeling access to selected XSD entities aiming to provide exceptional ease-of-use and to boost developers' productivity. It is also embedded in the Service Interface editor and is utilized for UI modeling manipulations of the in-line XSD schemas, contained in a WSDL document. It opens files with *.xsd extension in the Eclipse workspace.

A XSD schema being modified in the Data Types editor
The XSD source editing of an XSD schema
  • 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

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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

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