According to the SOAP 1.1 specification, the SOAPAction HTTP header field can be used to indicate the intent of a request. There are no restrictions on the format and a client MUST use this header field when sending a SOAP HTTP request.

The below example illustrates how a client can set the SOAPAction header and how a server endpoint can leverage the @SoapAction annotation to receive the request using Spring-WS, Spring Boot and Maven.

General Project Setup

If you want to learn more about Spring WS - head on over to the Spring WS tutorials page.

Tools used:

  • Spring-WS 2.4
  • Spring Boot 1.5
  • Maven 3.5

The setup of the project is based on a previous Spring WS example in which we have swapped out the basic helloworld.wsdl for a more generic ticketagent.wsdl from the W3C WSDL 1.1 specification.

As the WSDL is missing a SOAPAction we will add it in the context of this tutorial.

Note that Spring-WS will not automatically extract the SOAPAction value from the WSDL file, it needs to be programmed manually as we will see further below.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<wsdl:definitions targetNamespace="http://example.org/TicketAgent.wsdl11"
  xmlns:tns="http://example.org/TicketAgent.wsdl11" xmlns:wsdl="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/"
  xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema" xmlns:xsTicketAgent="http://example.org/TicketAgent.xsd"
  xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/wsdl/soap/">

  <wsdl:types>
    <xs:schema xmlns:xsTicketAgent="http://example.org/TicketAgent.xsd"
      targetNamespace="http://example.org/TicketAgent.xsd">

      <xs:element name="listFlightsRequest" type="xsTicketAgent:tListFlights" />
      <xs:complexType name="tListFlights">
        <xs:sequence>
          <xs:element name="travelDate" type="xs:date" />
          <xs:element name="startCity" type="xs:string" />
          <xs:element name="endCity" type="xs:string" />
        </xs:sequence>
      </xs:complexType>

      <xs:element name="listFlightsResponse" type="xsTicketAgent:tFlightsResponse" />
      <xs:complexType name="tFlightsResponse">
        <xs:sequence>
          <xs:element name="flightNumber" type="xs:integer"
            minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" />
        </xs:sequence>
      </xs:complexType>
    </xs:schema>
  </wsdl:types>

  <wsdl:message name="listFlightsRequest">
    <wsdl:part name="body" element="xsTicketAgent:listFlightsRequest" />
  </wsdl:message>

  <wsdl:message name="listFlightsResponse">
    <wsdl:part name="body" element="xsTicketAgent:listFlightsResponse" />
  </wsdl:message>

  <wsdl:portType name="TicketAgent">
    <wsdl:operation name="listFlights">
      <wsdl:input message="tns:listFlightsRequest" />
      <wsdl:output message="tns:listFlightsResponse" />
    </wsdl:operation>
  </wsdl:portType>

  <wsdl:binding name="TicketAgentSoap" type="tns:TicketAgent">
    <soap:binding style="document"
      transport="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/http" />
    <wsdl:operation name="listFlights">
      <soap:operation soapAction="http://example.com/TicketAgent/listFlights" />
      <wsdl:input>
        <soap:body parts="body" use="literal" />
      </wsdl:input>
      <wsdl:output>
        <soap:body parts="body" use="literal" />
      </wsdl:output>
    </wsdl:operation>
  </wsdl:binding>
</wsdl:definitions>

Client SoapActionCallback Setup

Spring WS by default sends an empty SOAPAction header. In order to set the value we need to configure it on the WebServiceTemplate by passing a WebServiceMessageCallback which gives access to the message after it has been created, but before it is sent.

There is a dedicated SoapActionCallback class which already implements a WebServiceMessageCallback that sets the SOAPAction header. Just pass a new instance to the WebServiceTemplate in order to set it up.

Alternatively you can implement your own WebServiceMessageCallback class and set the SOAPAction on the SoapMessage using the setSoapAction() method.

package com.codenotfound.ws.client;

import java.math.BigInteger;
import java.util.List;

import javax.xml.bind.JAXBElement;

import org.example.ticketagent.ObjectFactory;
import org.example.ticketagent.TFlightsResponse;
import org.example.ticketagent.TListFlights;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Component;
import org.springframework.ws.client.core.WebServiceTemplate;
import org.springframework.ws.soap.client.core.SoapActionCallback;

@Component
public class TicketAgentClient {

  @Autowired
  private WebServiceTemplate webServiceTemplate;

  @SuppressWarnings("unchecked")
  public List<BigInteger> listFlights() {

    ObjectFactory factory = new ObjectFactory();
    TListFlights tListFlights = factory.createTListFlights();

    JAXBElement<TListFlights> request = factory.createListFlightsRequest(tListFlights);

    // use SoapActionCallback to add the SOAPAction
    JAXBElement<TFlightsResponse> response =
        (JAXBElement<TFlightsResponse>) webServiceTemplate.marshalSendAndReceive(request,
            new SoapActionCallback("http://example.com/TicketAgent/listFlights"));

    return response.getValue().getFlightNumber();
  }
}

Endpoint @SoapAction Annotation

The endpoint mapping is responsible for mapping incoming messages to appropriate endpoints. The @SoapAction annotation marks methods with a particular SOAP Action. Whenever a message comes in which has this SOAPAction header, the method will be invoked.

In this example instead of the @PayloadRoot mapping, we will use @SoapAction to trigger the listFlights() method of our TicketAgentEndpoint class. The annotation takes as value the SOAPAction string.

The value of the SOAPAction header can be accessed within the endpoint logic by calling the getSoapAction() method on the request SoapMessage. Just add the MessageContext as input parameter in order to retrieve it.

package com.codenotfound.ws.endpoint;

import java.math.BigInteger;

import javax.xml.bind.JAXBElement;

import org.example.ticketagent.ObjectFactory;
import org.example.ticketagent.TFlightsResponse;
import org.example.ticketagent.TListFlights;
import org.slf4j.Logger;
import org.slf4j.LoggerFactory;
import org.springframework.ws.WebServiceMessage;
import org.springframework.ws.context.MessageContext;
import org.springframework.ws.server.endpoint.annotation.Endpoint;
import org.springframework.ws.server.endpoint.annotation.RequestPayload;
import org.springframework.ws.server.endpoint.annotation.ResponsePayload;
import org.springframework.ws.soap.SoapMessage;
import org.springframework.ws.soap.server.endpoint.annotation.SoapAction;

@Endpoint
public class TicketAgentEndpoint {

  private static final Logger LOGGER = LoggerFactory.getLogger(TicketAgentEndpoint.class);

  // map a message to this endpoint based on the SOAPAction
  @SoapAction(value = "http://example.com/TicketAgent/listFlights")
  @ResponsePayload
  public JAXBElement<TFlightsResponse> listFlights(
      @RequestPayload JAXBElement<TListFlights> request, MessageContext messageContext) {

    // access the SOAPAction value
    WebServiceMessage webServiceMessage = messageContext.getRequest();
    SoapMessage soapMessage = (SoapMessage) webServiceMessage;
    LOGGER.info("SOAPAction: '{}'", soapMessage.getSoapAction());

    ObjectFactory factory = new ObjectFactory();
    TFlightsResponse tFlightsResponse = factory.createTFlightsResponse();
    tFlightsResponse.getFlightNumber().add(BigInteger.valueOf(101));

    return factory.createListFlightsResponse(tFlightsResponse);
  }
}

Testing the SOAPAction Header

Now that we have setup the SOAPAction in both client and server let’s write some unit test cases to test the correct working.

For the client we will use a MockWebServiceServer in combination with a custom SoapActionMatcher in order to verify that the SOAPAction header has been set. Based on following Stack Overflow example we implement the RequestMatcher interface and assert that an expected SOAPAction is present.

package com.codenotfound.ws.client;

import static org.assertj.core.api.Assertions.assertThat;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.net.URI;

import org.springframework.ws.WebServiceMessage;
import org.springframework.ws.soap.SoapMessage;
import org.springframework.ws.soap.support.SoapUtils;
import org.springframework.ws.test.client.RequestMatcher;

public class SoapActionMatcher implements RequestMatcher {

  private final String expectedSoapAction;

  public SoapActionMatcher(String expectedSoapAction) {
    this.expectedSoapAction = SoapUtils.escapeAction(expectedSoapAction);
  }

  @Override
  public void match(URI uri, WebServiceMessage webServiceMessage)
      throws IOException, AssertionError {
    assertThat(webServiceMessage).isInstanceOf(SoapMessage.class);

    SoapMessage soapMessage = (SoapMessage) webServiceMessage;
    assertThat(soapMessage.getSoapAction()).isEqualTo(expectedSoapAction);
  }
}

In the test case we add the SoapActionMatcher as expected match to the MockWebServiceServer and check the result by calling the verify() method.

package com.codenotfound.ws.client;

import static org.assertj.core.api.Assertions.assertThat;
import static org.springframework.ws.test.client.RequestMatchers.payload;
import static org.springframework.ws.test.client.ResponseCreators.withPayload;

import java.math.BigInteger;
import java.util.List;

import javax.xml.transform.Source;

import org.junit.Before;
import org.junit.Test;
import org.junit.runner.RunWith;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.boot.test.context.SpringBootTest;
import org.springframework.test.context.junit4.SpringRunner;
import org.springframework.ws.client.core.WebServiceTemplate;
import org.springframework.ws.test.client.MockWebServiceServer;
import org.springframework.xml.transform.StringSource;

@RunWith(SpringRunner.class)
@SpringBootTest
public class TicketAgentClientTest {

  @Autowired
  private TicketAgentClient ticketAgentClient;

  @Autowired
  private WebServiceTemplate webServiceTemplate;

  private MockWebServiceServer mockWebServiceServer;

  @Before
  public void createServer() {
    mockWebServiceServer = MockWebServiceServer.createServer(webServiceTemplate);
  }

  @Test
  public void testListFlights() {
    Source requestPayload =
        new StringSource("<ns3:listFlightsRequest xmlns:ns3=\"http://example.org/TicketAgent.xsd\">"
            + "</ns3:listFlightsRequest>");

    Source responsePayload =
        new StringSource("<v1:listFlightsResponse xmlns:v1=\"http://example.org/TicketAgent.xsd\">"
            + "<flightNumber>101</flightNumber>" + "</v1:listFlightsResponse>");

    // check if the SOAPAction is present using the custom matcher
    mockWebServiceServer.expect(new SoapActionMatcher("http://example.com/TicketAgent/listFlights"))
        .andExpect(payload(requestPayload)).andRespond(withPayload(responsePayload));

    List<BigInteger> flights = ticketAgentClient.listFlights();
    assertThat(flights.get(0)).isEqualTo(BigInteger.valueOf(101));

    mockWebServiceServer.verify();
  }
}

The endpoint setup is tested by first creating a custom SoapActionCreator which implements the RequestCreator interface. This is done to provide a WebServiceMessage on which the SOAPAction has been set as this is not the case with the default request creators.

Simply create the message using the supplied XML Source and then set the SOAPAction using the setSoapAction() method.

package com.codenotfound.ws.endpoint;

import java.io.IOException;

import javax.xml.transform.Source;

import org.springframework.ws.WebServiceMessage;
import org.springframework.ws.WebServiceMessageFactory;
import org.springframework.ws.soap.SoapMessage;
import org.springframework.ws.test.server.RequestCreator;
import org.springframework.ws.test.support.creator.PayloadMessageCreator;

public class SoapActionCreator implements RequestCreator {

  private final Source payload;

  private final String soapAction;

  public SoapActionCreator(Source payload, String soapAction) {
    this.payload = payload;
    this.soapAction = soapAction;
  }

  @Override
  public WebServiceMessage createRequest(WebServiceMessageFactory webServiceMessageFactory)
      throws IOException {
    WebServiceMessage webServiceMessage =
        new PayloadMessageCreator(payload).createMessage(webServiceMessageFactory);

    SoapMessage soapMessage = (SoapMessage) webServiceMessage;
    soapMessage.setSoapAction(soapAction);

    return webServiceMessage;
  }
}

The test calls the sendRequest() of the MockWebServiceClient with the custom SoapActionCreator which results in a a request message for the endpoint to consume. If the correct SOAPAction is present the request is mapped to the endpoint and a response is returned.

package com.codenotfound.ws.endpoint;

import static org.springframework.ws.test.server.ResponseMatchers.payload;

import javax.xml.transform.Source;

import org.junit.Before;
import org.junit.Test;
import org.junit.runner.RunWith;
import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.boot.test.context.SpringBootTest;
import org.springframework.context.ApplicationContext;
import org.springframework.test.context.junit4.SpringRunner;
import org.springframework.ws.test.server.MockWebServiceClient;
import org.springframework.xml.transform.StringSource;

@RunWith(SpringRunner.class)
@SpringBootTest
public class TicketAgentEndpointTest {

  @Autowired
  private ApplicationContext applicationContext;

  private MockWebServiceClient mockClient;

  @Before
  public void createClient() {
    mockClient = MockWebServiceClient.createClient(applicationContext);
  }

  @Test
  public void testListFlights() {
    Source requestPayload =
        new StringSource("<ns3:listFlightsRequest xmlns:ns3=\"http://example.org/TicketAgent.xsd\">"
            + "</ns3:listFlightsRequest>");

    Source responsePayload =
        new StringSource("<v1:listFlightsResponse xmlns:v1=\"http://example.org/TicketAgent.xsd\">"
            + "<flightNumber>101</flightNumber>" + "</v1:listFlightsResponse>");

    mockClient
        .sendRequest(
            new SoapActionCreator(requestPayload, "http://example.com/TicketAgent/listFlights"))
        .andExpect(payload(responsePayload));
  }
}

Run the test cases by calling below Maven command.

mvn test

The result should be a successful run as shown below. Note that a log statement with the SOAPAction value is created by the endpoint.

  .   ____          _            __ _ _
 /\\ / ___'_ __ _ _(_)_ __  __ _ \ \ \ \
( ( )\___ | '_ | '_| | '_ \/ _` | \ \ \ \
 \\/  ___)| |_)| | | | | || (_| |  ) ) ) )
  '  |____| .__|_| |_|_| |_\__, | / / / /
 =========|_|==============|___/=/_/_/_/
 :: Spring Boot ::        (v1.5.2.RELEASE)

11:19:34.091 [main] INFO  c.c.ws.client.TicketAgentClientTest - Starting TicketAgentClientTest on cnf-pc with PID 4524 (started by CodeNotFound in c:\code\st\spring-ws\spring-ws-soapaction-header)
11:19:34.093 [main] INFO  c.c.ws.client.TicketAgentClientTest - No active profile set, falling back to default profiles: default
11:19:36.002 [main] INFO  c.c.ws.client.TicketAgentClientTest - Started TicketAgentClientTest in 2.166 seconds (JVM running for 2.858)
Tests run: 1, Failures: 0, Errors: 0, Skipped: 0, Time elapsed: 2.381 sec - in com.codenotfound.ws.client.TicketAgentClientTest
Running com.codenotfound.ws.endpoint.TicketAgentEndpointTest
11:19:36.177 [main] INFO  c.c.ws.endpoint.TicketAgentEndpoint - SOAPAction header: "http://example.com/TicketAgent/listFlights"
Tests run: 1, Failures: 0, Errors: 0, Skipped: 0, Time elapsed: 0.013 sec - in com.codenotfound.ws.endpoint.TicketAgentEndpointTest

Results :

Tests run: 2, Failures: 0, Errors: 0, Skipped: 0

[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] BUILD SUCCESS
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------
[INFO] Total time: 4.883 s
[INFO] Finished at: 2017-04-25T11:19:36+02:00
[INFO] Final Memory: 17M/222M
[INFO] ------------------------------------------------------------------------

github mark If you would like to run the above code sample you can get the full source code here.

Spring WS provides good support for setting and mapping the SOAPAction header as we have illustrated in above example.

If you have any additional thoughts let me know down below. Thanks!

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