Apache Axis Re-Design Released!

by David A. Chappell

Related link: http://ws.apache.org/axis2

The Apache Axis team has been working hard on a redesign of the runtime engine in order to support a more flexible SOAP processing model, in anticipation of other related Apache WS-* projects. The Axis2 project is centered on a new representation for SOAP messages called AXIOM (AXIs Object Model). According to Glen Daniels, this is definitely a rough cut, but nonetheless a significant milestone in working towards a new architecture. The announcement text, which came from the Apache Axis 2 team, is included here for more details....

The Apache Axis2 Team is pleased to announce the first milestone release of Apache Axis2 and the release is available at


Release Notes:

Overview of Apache Axis2
Axis2 is an effort to re-design and totally re-implement both Axis/Java and
(eventually) Axis/C++ on a new architecture. Evolving from the now standard "handler chain" model which Axis1 pioneered, Axis2 is developing a more flexible pipeline architecture which can yet be managed and packaged in a more organized manner. This new design acknowledges the maturing of the Web services space in terms of new protocols such as WS-ReliableMessaging, WS-Security and WS-Addressing that are built on top of the base SOAP system.

At the time Axis1 was designed, while it was fully expected that other protocols such as WS-ReliableMessaging would be built on top of it, there was no proper extension architecture defined to enable clean composition of such layers. Thus, one of the key motivations for Axis2 is to provide a clean and simple environment for extensions like Apache Sandesha and Apache WSS4J to layer on top of the base SOAP system.

Another driving force for Axis2 is to move away from RPC oriented Web services towards more document-oriented, message style asynchronous service interactions. The Axis2 project is centered on a new representation for SOAP messages called AXIOM (AXIs Object Model). AXIOM consists of two
parts: a complete XML Infoset representation and a SOAP Infoset representation on top of that. The XML Infoset representation provides a JDOM-like simple API but is built on a deferred model via a StAX-based (Streaming API for

pull parsing API. A key feature of AXIOM is that it allows one to stop building the XML tree and just access the pull stream directly; thus enabling both maximum flexibility and maximum performance. This approach allows us to support multiple levels of abstraction for consuming and offering Web
services: using plain AXIOM, using generated code and statically data-bound data types and so on.

At the time of Axis1's design, RPC-style, synchronous, request-response interactions were the order of the day for Web services. Today service interactions are much more message-oriented and exploit many different message exchange patterns. The Axis2 engine architecture is careful to not build in any assumptions of request-response patterns to ensure that it can be used easily to support arbitrary message exchange patterns.

--The Apache Axis2 Team