Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Troubleshooting XML namespaces binding in SOAP request using JAXB

Recently helped a team resolve an issue regarding namespace handling in JAX-WS / CXF. Jotting down the solution as it might help other folks breaking their heads on this issue :)

Our Java application needed to consume a .NET webservice and were facing challenges in SOA interoperability. We created the client stubs using the WSDL2Java tool of CXF. The WSDL had - elementFormDefault="qualified"

The problem we ran across was that the complex types were all being returned as 'null'. Enabling the network sniffer, we checked the raw SOAP reponse reaching the client. The response was OK with all fields populated. Hence the real issue was in the data-binding that was happening to the Java objects.

A quick google search revealed that the default behavior of JAXB when it encounters marshelling/unmarshalling errors is to ingore the exception and put it as a warning messages !!. This was a shock, as there was no way to debug the issue on the server.

We then wrote a sample JAXB application and tried to un-marshall the XML/SOAP message. It is here that we started getting the following error stack:
org.apache.cxf.interceptor.Fault: Unmarshalling Error: unexpected element

Hence, it was proved that the real culprit was the JAXB unmarshaller that was not generating the Java classes with the correct namespace.

First we checked the generated Java classes and found a file called as "" that had a XML namespace 'annotated' on the package name - essentially a package annotation. So this was supposed to work, but why is the unmarshaller throwing an exception?

We tried adding the following attributes to the annotation and then the unmarshaller started working !!!
@javax.xml.bind.annotation.XmlSchema (
    namespace = "http://com.mypackage",
    elementFormDefault = javax.xml.bind.annotation.XmlNsForm.QUALIFIED,
    attributeFormDefault = javax.xml.bind.annotation.XmlNsForm.UNQUALIFIED


Not sure why the WSDL2Java tool did not add these automatically based on the elementFormDefault="qualified" present in the WSDL.  But this trick worked and we could consume the .NET webservice. We had to modify the build script to replace the "" file everytime it was recreated.

Another option is to manually add the "namespace" attribute to all XMLTypes in the generated Java classes; but this is very tedious.

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