JBossESB 4.5 GA

Programmers Guide


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Table of Contents

Contents iii

About This Guide 6

What This Guide Contains 6

Audience 6

Prerequisites 6

Organization 6

Documentation Conventions 7

Additional Documentation 7

Contacting Us 8

The Enterprise Service Bus 10

What is an ESB? 10

When would you use JBossESB? 10

JBossESB 14

Rosetta 14

The core of JBossESB in a nutshell 15

Services and Messages 17

Introduction 17

The Service 17

The Message 18

Getting and Setting Data on the Message Body 23

Extensions to Body 24

The Message Header 25

LogicalEPR 27

Default FaultTo 27

Default ReplyTo 27

The Message payload 28

The MessageFactory 29

Message Formats 30


MessageType.JBOSS_XML 30

Building and Using Services 32

Listeners, Routers/Notifiers and Actions 32

Listeners 32

Routers 32

Notifiers 33

Actions and Messages 37

Handling responses 37

Error handling when processing actions 38

Meta-data and Filters 38

What is a Service? 40

ServiceInvoker 41

Transactions 42

Services and ServiceInvoker 42

InVM Transport 42

InVM Scope 43

InVM Transacted 43

Transaction Semantics 44

Lock-step Delivery 44

Load Balancing 45

Pass-by-Value/Pass-by-Reference 45

Service Contract Definition 45

Message validation 46

Exposing an ESB service as a webservice 46

Other Components 49

Introduction 49

The Message Store 49

Data Transformation 49

Content-based Routing 50

The Registry 50

Example 51

How to use the Message 51

The Message structure 51

The Service 52

Unpicking the payload 53

The Client 54

Configuration for a remote ServiceInvoker 55

Hints and Tips 56

Advanced Topics 57

Introduction 57

Fail-over and load-balancing support 57

Services, EPRs, listeners and actions 57

Replicated Services 58

Figure 7-2: Two service instance each on a different node. 59

Protocol Clustering 60

Clustering 63

Channel Fail-over and Load Balancing 63

Message Redelivery 65

Scheduling of Services 66

Simple Schedule 67

Cron Schedule 67

Scheduled Listener 68

Example Configurations 68

Quartz Scheduler Property Configuration 69

Fault-tolerance and Reliability 70

Introduction 70

Failure classification 70

JBossESB and the Fault Models 71

Failure Detectors and Failure Suspectors 73

Reliability guarantees 74

Message loss 74

Suspecting Endpoint Failures 75

Supported Crash Failure Modes 75

Component Specifics 75

Gateways 75

ServiceInvoker 76

JMS Broker 76

Action Pipelining 76

Recommendations 76

Defining Service Configurations 78

Overview 78

Providers 79

Services 80

Transport Specific Type Implementations 83

JMS Message filter configuration 84

FTP configuration 85

FTP Listener configuration 86

Read-only FTP Listener 87

Read-only FTP Listener Configuration 87

UDP Gateway 88

UDP Gateway configuration 88

Transitioning From The Old Configuration Model 90

Configuration 90

Web Services Support 92

JBossWS 92

Out-of-the-box Actions 93

Transformers & Converters 93

ByteArrayToString 93

LongToDateConverter 93

ObjectInvoke 94

ObjectToCSVString 94

ObjectToXStream 95

XStreamToObject 96

SmooksTransformer 97

SmooksAction 99

SmooksAction Configuration 99

Message Input Payload 100

XML, EDI, CSV etc Input Payloads 100

Java Input Payload 100

Specifying the Result Type 100

PersistAction 101

Business Process Management 102

jBPM - BpmProcessor 102

Scripting 105

GroovyActionProcessor 105

ScriptingAction 105

Services 107

EJBProcessor 107

Routing 108

Aggregator 108

EchoRouter 108

HttpRouter 108

JBoss Remoting HttpRouter (Deprecated) 108

Apache Commons HttpRouter 109

JMSRouter 109

ContentBasedRouter 111

StaticRouter 112

StaticWiretap 113

Notifier 113

Webservices/SOAP 117

SOAPProcessor 117

Dependencies 118

"ESB Message Aware" Webservice Endpoints 118

Webservice Endpoint Deployment 118

Endpoint Publishing 118

SOAPClient 118

Optional Properties 118

SOAP Operation Parameters 119

JAXB Annotation Introductions 121

Action Configuration 121

Quickstarts 121

SOAPClient 122

Endpoint Operation Specification 122

SOAP Request Message Construction 122

SOAP Response Message Consumption 124

HttpClient Configuration 126

Miscellaneous 128

SystemPrintln 128

Developing Custom Actions 129

Configuring Actions Using Properties 130

Connectors and Adapters 132

Introduction 132

The Gateway 132

Gateway Data Mappings 133

How to change the Gateway Data Mappings 134

Connecting via JCA 134

Configuration 135

Appendix A 137

Writing JAXB Annotation Introduction Configurations 137

Appendix B 139

Service Oriented Architecture Overview 139

Why SOA? 141

Basics of SOA 142

Advantages of SOA 143

Interoperability 143

Efficiency 143

Standardization 143

Statefull and Stateless services 144

JBossESB and its relationship with SOA 145

Glossary 146

Index 151

About This Guide

What This Guide Contains

The Programmers Guide contains information on how to use JBossESB 4.5 GA.


This guide is most relevant to engineers who are responsible for using JBossESB 4.5 GA installations and want to know how it relates to SOA and ESB principles.




This guide contains the following chapters:

Documentation Conventions

The following conventions are used in this guide:




In paragraph text, italic identifies the titles of documents that are being referenced. When used in conjunction with the Code text described below, italics identify a variable that should be replaced by the user with an actual value.


Emphasizes items of particular importance.


Text that represents programming code.

Function | Function

A path to a function or dialog box within an interface. For example, “Select File | Open.” indicates that you should select the Open function from the File menu.

( ) and |

Parentheses enclose optional items in command syntax. The vertical bar separates syntax items in a list of choices. For example, any of the following three items can be entered in this syntax:

persistPolicy (Never | OnTimer | OnUpdate | NoMoreOftenThan)



A note highlights important supplemental information.

A caution highlights procedures or information that is necessary to avoid damage to equipment, damage to software, loss of data, or invalid test results.

Table 1 Formatting Conventions

Additional Documentation

In addition to this guide, the following guides are available in the JBossESB 4.5 GA documentation set:

  1. JBossESB 4.5 GA Trailblazer Guide: Provides guidance for using the trailblazer example.

  2. JBossESB 4.5 GA Getting Started Guide: Provides a quick start reference to configuring and using the ESB.

  3. JBossESB 4.5 GA Administration Guide: How to manage JBossESB.

  4. JBossESB 4.5 GA Release Notes: Information on the differences between this release and previous releases.

  5. JBossESB 4.5 GA Services Guides: Various documents related to the services available with the ESB.

Contacting Us

Questions or comments about JBossESB 4.5 GA should be directed to our support team.

The Enterprise Service Bus

What is an ESB?

The ESB is seen as the next generation of EAI – better and without the vendor-lockin characteristics of old. As such, many of the capabilities of a good ESB mirror those of existing EAI offerings. Traditional EAI stacks consist of: Business Process Monitoring, Integrated Development Environment, Human Workflow User Interface, Business Process Management, Connectors, Transaction Manager, Security, Application Container, Messaging Service, Metadata Repository, Naming and Directory Service, Distributed Computing Architecture.

As with EAI systems, ESB is not about business logic – that is left to higher levels. It is about infrastructure logic. Although there are many different definitions of what constitutes an ESB, what everyone agrees on now is that an ESB is part of an SOA infrastructure. However, SOA is not simply a technology or a product: it's a style of design, with many aspects (such as architectural, methodological and organisational) unrelated to the actual technology. But obviously at some point it becomes necessary to map the abstract SOA to a concrete implementation and that's where the ESB comes in to play.

  1. You can learn more about SOA principles and ESB architectures in the SOA Background Concepts document.

When would you use JBossESB?

The figures below illustrate some concrete examples where JBossESB would be useful. Although these examples are specific to interactions between participants using non-interoperable JMS implementations, the principles are general and can be applied to other transports such as FTP and HTTP.

The first diagram shows simple file movement between two systems where messaging queuing is not involved.

The next diagram illustrates how transformation can be injected into the same scenario using JBossESB.

In the next series of examples, we use a queuing system (e.g., a JMS implementation).

The diagram below shows transformation and queuing in the same situation.

JBossESB can be used in more than multi-party scenarios. For example, the diagram below shows basic data transformation via the ESB using the file system.

The final scenario is again a single party example using transformation and a queuing system.

In the following chapters we shall look at the core concepts within JBossESB and how they can be used to develop SOA-based applications.



The core of JBossESB is Rosetta, an ESB that has been in commercial deployment at a mission critical site for over 3 years. The architecture of Rosetta is shown below in Figure 1:

  1. In the diagram, processor classes refer to the Action classes within the core that are responsible for processing on triggered events.

There are many reasons why users may want disparate applications, services and components to interoperate, e.g., leveraging legacy systems in new deployments. Furthermore, such interactions between these entities may occur both synchronously or asynchronously. As with most ESBs, Rosetta was developed to facilitate such deployments, but providing an infrastructure and set of tools that could:

To date, Rosetta has been used in mission critical deployments using Oracle Financials. The multi platform environment included an IBM mainframe running z/OS, DB2 and Oracle databases hosted in the mainframe and in smaller servers, with additional Windows and Linux servers and a myriad of third party applications that offered dissimilar entry points for interoperation. It used JMS and MQSeries for asynchronous messaging and Postgress for object storage. Interoperation with third parties outside of the corporation’s IT infrastructure was made possible using IBM MQSeries, FTP servers offering entry points to pick up and deposit files to/from the outside world and attachments in e-mail messages to ‘well known’ e-mail accounts.

As we shall see when examining the JBossESB core, which is based on Rosetta, the challenge was to provide a set of tools and a methodology that would make it simple to isolate business logic from transport and triggering mechanisms, to log business and processing events that flowed through the framework and to allow flexible plug ins of ad hoc business logic and data transformations. Emphasis was placed on ensuring that it is possible (and simple) for future users to replace/extend the standard base classes that come with the framework (and are used for the toolset), and to trigger their own ‘action classes’ that can be unaware of transport and triggering mechanisms.

  1. Within JBossESB source we have two trees: org.jboss.internal.soa.esb and org.jboss.soa.esb. You should limit your use of anything within the org.jboss.internal.soa.esb package because the contents are subject to change without notice. Alternatively anything within the org.jboss.soa.esb is covered by our deprecation policy.

      1. The core of JBossESB in a nutshell

Rosetta is built on four core architectural components:

These capabilities are offered through a set of business classes, adapters and processors, which will be described in detail later. Interactions between clients and services are supported via a range of different approaches, including JMS, flat-file system and email.

A typical JBossESB deployment is shown below. We shall return to this diagram in subsequent sections.

  1. Some of the components in the diagram (e.g., LDAP server) are configuration choices and may not be provided out-of-the-box. Furthermore, the Processor and Action distinction shown in the above diagram is merely an illustrative convenience to show the concepts involved when an incoming event (message) triggers the underlying ESB to invoke higher-level services.

Figure 2: ESB Core components.

In the following chapters we shall look at the various components within JBossESB and show how they interact and can be used to develop SOA-based applications.

Services and Messages


In keeping with SOA principles, everything within JBossESB is considered to be either a service or a message. Services encapsulate the business logic or points of integration with legacy systems. Messages are the way in which clients and services communicate with each other.

In the following sections we shall look at how Services and Messages are supported within JBossESB.

The Service

A “Service” in JBossESB is defined as a list of “Action” classes that process an ESB Message in a sequential manner (see below). This list of Action classes is referred to as an “Action Pipeline”. A Service can define a list of “Listeners”, which act as inbound routers for the Service, routing messages to the Action Pipeline.

The following is a very simple JBossESB configuration that defines a single Service that simply prints the contents of the ESB Message to the console.

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
<jbossesb xmlns="http://anonsvn.labs.jboss.com/labs/jbossesb/trunk/product/etc/schemas/xml/jbossesb-1.0.1.xsd" invmScope=”GLOBAL”>

    <service category="Retail" name="ShoeStore" description="Acme Shoe Store Service">
            <action name="println" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.SystemPrintln" />


As you can see from the above example, a Service has “category” and “name” attributes. When JBossESB deploys the Service, it uses these attributes to register the Service endpoints (listeners) in the Service Registry (see Registry Guide). Clients can invoke the Service using the ServiceInvoker as follows.

ServiceInvoker invoker = new ServiceInvoker(“Retail”, “ShoeStore”);
Message message = MessageFactory.getInstance().getMessage();

message.getBody().add(“Hi there!”);

The ServiceInvoker uses the Service Registry (see ServicesGuide) to lookup the available Endpoint addresses for the “Retail:ShoeStore” Service. It takes care of all the transport details of getting the message from the Client to one of the available Service Endpoints (JMS, FTP, HTTP etc), hiding all of the lower level details from the Client.

The Endpoint addresses made available to the ServiceInvoker will depend on the list of listeners configured on the Service such as JMS, FTP or HTTP. No listeners are configured on the Service in the above example, but its InVM listener has been enabled using invmScope="GLOBAL"1. To add additional Endpoints for the Service, we need to explicitly add listener configurations on the Service. JBossESB supports two forms of listener configuration:

  1. Gateway Listeners: These listener configurations configure a “Gateway” Endpoint. These Endpoint types can be used to get messages onto an ESB bus. It is responsible for “normalizing” the message payload by wrapping it into an ESB Message (see below) before shipping it to the Service's Action Pipeline.

  2. ESB Aware Listeners: These listener configurations configure an “ESB Aware” Endpoint. These Endpoint types are used to exchange ESB Messages (see below) between ESB Aware components e.g. exchanging messages on the bus.

The following is an example of how a JMS Gateway listener can be added to the above ShoeStore Service.

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
<jbossesb xmlns="http://anonsvn.labs.jboss.com/labs/jbossesb/
    <jms-provider name="JBossMQ" connection-factory="ConnectionFactory">
        <jms-bus busid="shoeStoreJMSGateway">
            <jms-message-filter dest-type="QUEUE" dest-name="queue/shoeStoreJMSGateway"/>

    <service category="Retail" name="ShoeStore" description="Acme Shoe Store Service"             
    <jms-listener name="shoeStoreJMSGateway" busidref="shoeStoreJMSGateway" 
            <action name="println" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.SystemPrintln" />


In the above configuration, we added a bus <providers> section to the configuration. This is where we configure the transport level details for Endpoints. In this case we added a <jms-provider> section that defines a single <jms-bus> for the Shoe Store JMS Queue. This bus is then referenced in the <jms-listener> defined on the Shoe Store Service. The Shoe Store is now invocable via two Endpoints – the InVM Endpoint and the JMS Gateway Endpoint. The ServiceInvoker will always use a Service's local InVM Endpoint, if available, in preference to other Endpoint types.

The Message

All interactions between clients and services within JBossESB occur through the exchange of Messages. In order to encourage loose coupling we recommend a message-exchange pattern based on one-way messages, i.e., requests and responses are independent messages, correlated where necessary by the infrastructure or application. Applications constructed in this way are less brittle and can be more tolerant of failures, giving developers more flexibility in their deployment and message delivery requirements.

To ensure loose coupling of services and develop SOA applications, it is necessary to:

In order to use a one-way message delivery pattern with requests and responses, it is obviously necessary to encode information about where responses should be sent. That information may be present in the message body (the payload) and hence dealt with solely by the application, or part of the initial request message and typically dealt with by the ESB infrastructure.

Therefore, central to the ESB is the notion of a message, whose structure is similar to that found in SOAP:

<xs:complexType name="Envelope">
xs:attribute ref="Header" use="required"/>
xs:attribute ref="Context" use="required"/>
xs:attribute ref="Body" use="required"/>
xs:attribute ref="Attachment" use="optional"/>
xs:attribute ref="Properties" use="optional"/>
xs:attribute ref="Fault" use="optional"/>

Pictorially the basic structure of the Message can be represented as shown below. In the rest of this section we shall examine each of these components in more detail.

In UML, the Message structure can be represented as:

Each message is an implementation of the org.jboss.soa.esb.message.Message interface. Within that package are interfaces for the various fields within the Message as shown below:

public interface Message
public Header getHeader ();
public Context getContext ();
public Body getBody ();
public Fault getFault ();
public Attachment getAttachment ();
public URI getType ();
public Properties getProperties ();

  1. In JBossESB, Attachments and Properties are not treated differently from the Body. The general concepts they embody are currently being re-evaluated and may change significantly in future releases. As such, we recommend developers do not use Attachments.

The Header contains routing and addressing information for this message. As we saw earlier, JBossESB uses an addressing scheme based on the WS-Addressing standard from W3C. We shall discuss the org.jboss.soa.esb.addressing.Call class in the next section.

public interface Header
public Call getCall ();
public void setCall (Call call);

The Context contains session related information, such as transaction or security contexts.

  1. The 4.x release of JBossESB does not support user-enhanced Contexts. This will be a feature of the 5.0 release.

The Body typically contains the payload of the message. It may contain a list of Objects of arbitrary types. How these objects are serialized to/from the message body when it is transmitted is up to the specific Object type.

  1. You should be extremely careful about sending Serialized objects within the Body: not everything that can be Serialized will necessarily be meaningful at the receiver, e.g., database connections.

public interface Body
public static final String DEFAULT_LOCATION = "org.jboss.soa.esb.message.defaultEntry";

public void add (String name, Object value);
public Object get (String name);
public void add (Object value);
public Object get ();
public Object remove (String name);
public void replace (Body b);
public void merge (Body b);
public String[] getNames ();

A Body can be used to convey arbitrary information types and arbitrary numbers of each type, i.e., it is not necessary to restrict yourself to sending and receiving single data items within a Body.

  1. The byte array component of the Body was deprecated in JBossESB 4.2.1. If you wish to continue using a byte array in conjunction with other data stored in the Body, then simply use add with a unique name. If your clients and services want to agree on a location for a byte array, then you can use the one that JBossESB uses: ByteBody.BYTES_LOCATION.

  2. The default named Object (DEFAULT_LOCATION) should be used with care so that multiple services or Actions do not overwrite each other's data.

The Fault can be used to convey error information. The information is represented within the Body.

public interface Fault
public URI getCode ();
public void setCode (URI code);

public String getReason ();
public void setReason (String reason);

public Throwable getCause ();
public void setCause (Throwable ex);

  1. In JBossESB, Attachments and Properties are not treated differently from the Body. The general concepts they embody are currently being re-evaluated and may change significantly in future releases. As such, we recommend developers do not use Attachments or Properties.

A set of message properties, which can be used to define additional meta-data for the message.

public interface Properties
public Object getProperty(String name);
public Object getProperty(String name, Object defaultVal);

public Object setProperty(String name, Object value);
public Object remove(String name);

public int size();
public String[] getNames();

  1. JBossESB does not implement Properties as java.util.Properties for the same reason Web Services stacks do not: it places restrictions on the types of clients and services that can used. If you need to send java.util.Properties then you can embed them within the current abstraction.

Messages may contain attachments that do not appear in the main payload body. For example, imagines, drawings, binary document formats, zip files etc. The Attachment interface supports both named and unnamed attachments.

public interface Attachment
Object get(String name);
Object put(String name, Object value);

Object remove(String name);

String[] getNames();

Object itemAt (int index) throws IndexOutOfBoundsException;
Object removeItemAt (
int index) throws IndexOutOfBoundsException
Object replaceItemAt(
int index, Object value)
throws IndexOutOfBoundsException;

void addItem (Object value);
void addItemAt (int index, Object value)
throws IndexOutOfBoundsException;

public int getNamedCount();

Attachments may be used for a number of reasons (some of which have been outlined above). At a minimum, they may be used to more logically structure your message and improve performance of large messages, e.g., by streaming the attachments between endpoints.

  1. At present JBossESB does not support specifying other encoding mechanisms for the Message or attachment streaming. This will be added in later releases and where appropriate will be tied in to the SOAP-with-attachments delivery mechanism. Therefore, currently attachments are treated in the same way as named objects within the Body.

Given that there are attachments, properties, and named objects, you may be wondering where should you put your payload? The answer is fairly straightforward:

There is more information about how to define your Message payload in the Message Payload section of this document.

      1. Getting and Setting Data on the Message Body

By default, all JBossESB 4.2.1GA+ components (Actions, Listeners, Gateways, Routers, Notifiers etc) get and set data on the message through the messages “Default Payload Location”.

All ESB components use the MessagePayloadProxy to manage getting and setting of the payload on the message. It handles the default case, as outlined above, but also allows this to be overridden in a uniform manner across all components. It allows the “get” and “set” location for the message payload to be overridden in a uniform way using the following component properties:

  1. get-payload-location”: The location from which to retrieve the message payload.

  2. set-payload-location”: The location on which to set the message payload.

Prior to JBossESB 4.2.1GA there was no default message payload exchange pattern in place. JBossESB 4.2.1GA+ can be configured to exchange payload data according to the pre 4.2.1GA approach (i.e. is backward compatible with) by setting the “use.legacy.message.payload.exchange.patterns” property to “true” in the “core” section/module of the jbossesb-properties.xml file (found in the jbossesb.sar).

Extensions to Body

Although you can manipulate the contents of a Message Body directly in terms of bytes or name/value pairs, it is often more natural to use one of the following predefined Message structures, which are simply different views onto the data contained in the underlying Body.

As well as the basic Body interface, JBossESB supports the following interfaces, which are extensions on the basic Body interface:

You can create Messages that have Body implementations based on one of these specific interfaces through the XMLMessageFactory or SerializedMessageFactory classes. The need for two different factories is explained in the section on Message Formats, which is described later in the document.

For each of the various Body types, you will find an associated create method (e.g., createTextBody) that allows you to create and initialize a Message of the specific type. Once created, the Message can be manipulated directly through the raw Body or via the specific interface. If the Message is transmitted to a recipient, then the Body structure will be maintained, e.g., it can be manipulated as a TextBody.

The XMLMessageFactory and SerializedMessageFactory are more convenient ways in which to work with Messages than the MessageFactory and associated classes, which are described in the following sections.

  1. these extensions to the base Body interface are provided in a complimentary manner to the original Body. As such they can be used in conjunction with existing clients and services. Message consumers can remain unaware of these new types if necessary because the underlying data structure within the Message remains unchanged. It is important to realise that these extensions do not store their data in the default location; data should be retrieved using the corresponding getters on the extension instance.

      1. The Message Header

As we saw above, the Header of a Message contains a reference to the org.jboss.soa.esb.addressing.Call class:

public class Call
public Call ();
public Call (EPR epr);

public void setTo (EPR epr);
public EPR getTo () throws URISyntaxException;

public void setFrom (EPR from);
public EPR getFrom () throws URISyntaxException;

public void setReplyTo (EPR replyTo);
public EPR getReplyTo () throws URISyntaxException;

public void setFaultTo (EPR uri);
public EPR getFaultTo () throws URISyntaxException;

public void setRelatesTo (URI uri);
public URI getRelatesTo () throws URISyntaxException;

public void setAction (URI uri);
public URI getAction () throws URISyntaxException;

public void setMessageID (URI uri);
public URI getMessageID () throws URISyntaxException;

public void copy (Call from);

The properties below support both one way and request reply interaction patterns:

The relationship between the Header and the various EPRs can be illustrated as follows in UML:

When working with Messages, you should consider the role of the header when developing and using your clients and services. For example, if you require a synchronous interaction pattern based on request/response, you will be expected to set the ReplyTo field, or a default EPR will be used; even with request/response, the response need not go back to the original sender, if you so choose. Likewise, when sending one-way messages (no response), you should not set the ReplyTo field because it will be ignored.

  1. Please see details on the LogicalEPR.

  2. The Message Header is formed in conjunction with the Message by the creator and is immutable once transmitted between endpoints. Although the interfaces allow the recipient to modify the individual values, JBossESB will ignore such modifications. In future releases it is likely that such modifications will be disallowed by the API as well for improved clarity. These rules are laid down in the WS-Addressing standards.

        1. LogicalEPR

A LogicalEPR is an EPR that simply specifies the name and category of an ESB Service/Endpoint. It contains no physical addressing information.

Clients setting the ReplyTo or FaultTo EPRs should always use the LogicalEPR, as opposed to one of the Physical EPRs (JMSEpr etc). The LogicalEPR is the preferred option because it makes no assumptions about the capabilities of the user of the EPR (typically the ESB itself, but not necessarily), or when the EPR will be used i.e. a physical EPR may no longer be valid by the time it gets used. By it's non-Physical nature, a LogicalEPR is also a lot easier to “handle” from a user perspective. The user of the LogicalEPR can use the Service name and category details supplied in the EPR to lookup the physical endpoint details for that Service/Endpoint at the point in time when they intend making the invocation i.e. they will get relevant addressing information. The user will also be able to select an endpoint type that suits it i.e. if it's easier for the user to make the invocation using a file based transport (Vs e.g. JMS), then they can select that type of transport.

        1. Default FaultTo

When sending Messages, it is possible that errors will occur, either during the transmission or reception/processing of the Message. JBossESB will route any faults to the EPR mentioned in the FaultTo field of the incoming message. If this is not set, then it will use the ReplyTo field or, failing that, the From field. If no valid EPR is obtained as a result of checking all of these fields, then the error will be output to the console. If you do not wish to be informed about such faults, such as when sending a one-way message, you may wish to use the DeadLetter Queue Service EPR as your FaultTo. In this way, any faults that do occur will be saved for later processing.

  1. Please see details on the LogicalEPR.

        1. Default ReplyTo

Because the recommended interaction pattern within JBossESB is based on one-way message exchange, responses to messages are not necessarily automatic: it is application dependent as to whether or not a sender expects a response. As such, a reply address (EPR) is an optional part of the header routing information and applications should be setting this value if necessary. However, in the case where a response is required and the reply EPR (ReplyTo EPR) has not been set, JBossESB supports default values for each type of transport. Some of these ReplyTo defaults require system administrators to configure JBossESB correctly.

  1. Please see details on the LogicalEPR.

      1. The Message payload

From an application/service perspective the message payload is a combination of the Body and Attachments. In this section we shall give an overview of best practices when constructing and using the message payload.

  1. In JBossESB, Attachments and Properties are not treated differently from the Body. The general concepts they embody are currently being re-evaluated and may change significantly in future releases. As such we shall not be considering the Attachments as part of the payload in the rest of this discussion.

The UML representation of the payload is shown below:

More complex content may be added through the add method, which supports named Objects. Using <name, Object> pairs allows for a finer granularity of data access. The type of Objects that can be added to the Body can be arbitrary: they do not need to be Java Serializable. However, in the case where non-Serializable Objects are added, it is necessary to provide JBossESB with the ability to marshal/unmarshal the Message when it flows across the network. See the section of Message Formats for more details.

If no name is supplied to set or get, then the default name defined by DEFAULT_LOCATION will be used.

  1. be careful when using Serialized Java objects in messages because it constrains the service implementations.

In general you will find it easier to work with the Message Body through the named Object approach. You can add, remove and inspect individual data items within the Message payload without having to decode the entire Body. Furthermore, you can combine named Objects within the payload with the byte array.

  1. in the current release of JBossESB only Java Serialized objects may be attachments. This restriction will be removed in a subsequent release.

      1. The MessageFactory

Internally to an ESB component, the message is a collection of Java objects. However, messages need to be serialized for a number of reasons, e.g., transmitted between address spaces (processes) or saved to a persistent datastore for auditing or debugging purposes. The external representation of a message may be influenced by the environment in which the ESB is deployed. Therefore, JBossESB does not impose a specific normalized message format, but supports a range of them.

All implementations of the org.jboss.soa.esb.message.Message interface are obtained from the org.jboss.soa.esb.message.format.MessageFactory class:

public abstract class MessageFactory
public abstract Message getMessage ();
public abstract Message getMessage (URI type);

public static MessageFactory getInstance ();

Message serialization implementations are uniquely identified by a URI. The type of implementation required may be specified when requesting a new instance, or the configured default implementation may be used. Currently JBossESB provides two implementations, which are defined in the org.jboss.soa.esb.message.format.MessageType class:

  1. You should be wary about using the JAVA_SERIALIZED version of the Message format because it more easily ties your applications to specific service implementations, i.e., it breaks loose coupling.

Other Message implementations may be provided at runtime through the org.jboss.soa.esb.message.format.MessagePlugin:

public interface MessagePlugin
public static final String MESSAGE_PLUGIN =

public Message getMessage ();
public URI getType ();

Each plug-in must uniquely identify the type of Message implementation it provides (via getMessage), using the getType method. Plug-in implementations must be identified to the system via the jbossesb-properties.xml file using property names with the org.jboss.soa.esb.message.format.plugin extension.

  1. The default Message type is JBOSS_XML. However, this can be changed by setting the property org.jboss.soa.esb.message.default.uri to the desired URI.

      1. Message Formats

As mentioned previously, JBossESB supports two serialized message formats: MessageType.JBOSS_XML and MessageType.JAVA_SERIALIZED. In the following sections we shall look at each of these formats in more detail.

        1. MessageType.JAVA_SERIALIZED

This implementation requires that all contents are Java Serializable. Any attempt to add a non-Serializable object to the Message will result in a IllegalParameterException being thrown.

        1. MessageType.JBOSS_XML

This implementation uses an XML representation of the Message on the wire. The schema for the message is defined in the message.xsd within the schemas directory. Arbitrary objects may be added to the Message, i.e., they do not have to be Serializable. Therefore, it may be necessary to provide a mechanism to marshal/unmarshal such objects to/from XML when the Message needs to be serialized. This support can be provided through the org.jboss.soa.esb.message.format.xml.marshal.MarshalUnmarshalPlugin:

public interface MarshalUnmarshalPlugin
public static final String MARSHAL_UNMARSHAL_PLUGIN =

public boolean marshal (Element doc, Object param)
throws MarshalException;

public Object unmarshal (Element doc) throws UnmarshalException;

public URI type ();

  1. Java Serialized objects are supported by default.

Plug-ins can be registered with the system through the jbossesb-properties.xml configuration file. They should have attribute names that start with the MARSHAL_UNMARSHAL_PLUGIN. When packing objects in XML, JBossESB runs through the list of registered plug-ins until it finds one that can deal with the object type (or faults). When packing, the name (type) of the plug-in that packed the object is also attached to facilitate unpacking at the Message receiver.

Now that we have looked at the concepts behind services and Messages, we shall examine how to construct services using the framework provided by Rosetta in the following Chapter.

Building and Using Services

Listeners, Routers/Notifiers and Actions


Listeners encapsulate the endpoints for ESB-aware message reception. Upon receipt of a message, a Listener feeds that message into a “pipeline” of message processors that process the message before routing the result to the “replyTo” endpoint. The action processing that takes place in the pipeline may consist of steps wherein the message gets transformed in one processor, some business logic is applied in the next processor, before the result gets routed to the next step in the pipeline, or to another endpoint.

  1. various parameters can be configured for listeners, such as the number of active worker threads. See the chapter on Defining Service Configurations for a full range of these options.


Routers are the way in which either the ESB Message itself of its payload can be routed to an endpoint. Some routers support the 'unwrap' property. If this property is true then the ESB Message payload will be extracted and only the payload will be sent to the ESB-unaware endpoint. Setting 'unwrap' to false will pass the ESB Message as is and the receiving endpoint must be ESB-aware so that it can deal with the message.

No further processing of the action pipeline will occur after the router action even if you there are action after it in the configuration. If this sort of splitting is required you should use the StaticWiretap action.

Other routers like StaticWiretap, StaticRouter are only for routing to other services. There are also router that can be used for dynamic routing based on the message content. Please see the section “What is Content Based Routing” in the ServicesGuide for more formation on content based routers.

For information about the usage of different routers please see the routers section in Chapter 11 “Out-of-the-box Actions”.


Notifiers are the way in which success or error information may be propagated to ESB-unaware endpoints. You should not use Notifiers for communicating with ESB-aware endpoints. This may mean that you cannot have ESB-aware and ESB-unaware endpoints listening on the same channel. Consider using Couriers or the ServiceInvoker within your Actions if you want to communicate with ESB-aware endpoints.

Not all ESB-aware transports are supported for Notifiers (and vice versa). Notifiers are deliberately simple in what they allow to be transported: either a byte[] or a String (obtained by calling toString() on the payload).

  1. JMSNotifier was sending the type of JMS message (TextMessage or ObjectMessage) depending upon the type of ESB Message (XML or Serializable, respectively). This was wrong, as the type of ESB Message should not affect the way in which the Notifier sends responses. As of JBossESB 4.2.1CP02, the message type to be used by the Notifier can be set as a property (org.jboss.soa.esb.message.transport.jms.nativeMessageType) on the ESB message. Possible values are NotifyJMS.NativeMessage.text or NotifyJMS.NativeMessage.object. For backward compatibility with previous releases, the default value depends upon the ESB Message type: object for Serializable and text for XML. However, we encourage you not to rely on defaults.

As outlined above, the responsibility of a listener is to act as a message delivery endpoint and to deliver messages to an “Action Processing Pipeline”. Each listener configuration needs to supply information for:

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>

<jbossesb xmlns="http://anonsvn.labs.jboss.com/labs/jbossesb/trunk/product/etc/schemas/xml/jbossesb-1.0.1.xsd" parameterReloadSecs="5">


<jms-provider name="JBossMQ"





<jms-bus busid="quickstartGwChannel">






<jms-bus busid="quickstartEsbChannel">












description="Hello World">


<jms-listener name="JMS-Gateway"





<jms-listener name="helloWorld"






<action name="action1" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.samples.quickstart.helloworld.MyJMSListenerAction"



<action name="notificationAction" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.Notifier">

<property name="okMethod" value="notifyOK" />

<property name="notification-details">

<NotificationList type="ok">

<target class="NotifyConsole"/>


<NotificationList type="err">

<target class="NotifyConsole"/>








This example configuration will instantiate a listener object (jms-listener attribute) that will wait for incoming ESB Messages, serialized within a javax.jms.ObjectMessage, and will deliver each incoming message to an ActionProcessingPipeline consiting of two steps (<action> elements):

  1. action1. MyJMSListenerAction (a trivial example follows)

  2. notificationAction. An org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.SystemPrintln

The following trivial action class will prove useful for debugging your XML action configuration

public class MyJMSListenerAction

public MyJMSListenerAction(ConfigTree config) { _config = config; }

public Message process (Message message) throws Exception
return message;

Action classes are the main way in which ESB users can tailor the framework to their specific needs. The ActionProcessingPipeline class will expect any action class to provide at least the following:

Optional public callback methods that take a Message argument will be used for notification of the result of the specific step of the processing pipeline (see items 5 and 6 below).

The org.jboss,soa.esb.listeners.message.ActionProcessingPipeline class will perform the following steps for all steps configured using <action> elements

  1. Instantiate an object of the class specified in the 'class' attribute with a constructor that takes a single argument of type ConfigTree

  2. Analyze contents of the 'process' attribute.

    Contents can be a comma separated list of public method names of the instantiated class (step 1), each of which must take a single argument of type Message, and return a Message object that will be passed to the next step in the pipeline

    If the 'process' attribute is not present, the pipeline will assume a single processing method called “process”

    Using a list of method names in a single <action> element has some advantages compared to using successive <action> elements, as the action class is instantiated once, and methods will be invoked on the same instance of the class. This reduces overhead and allows for state information to be kept in the instance objects.

    This approach is useful for user supplied (new) action classes, but the other alternative (list of <action> elements) continues to be a way of reusing other existing action classes.

  3. Sequentially invoke each method in the list using the Message returned by the previous step

  4. If the value returned by any step is null the pipeline will stop processing immediately.

  5. Callback method for success in each <action> element: If the list of methods in the 'process' attribute was executed successfully, the pipeline will analyze contents of the 'okMethod' attribute. If none is specified, processing will continue with the next <action> element. If a method name is provided in the 'okMethod' attribute, it will be invoked using the Message returned by the last method in step 3. If the pipeline succeeds then the okMethod notification will be called on all handlers from the last one back to the initial one.

  6. Callback method for failure in each <action> element: If an Exception occurs then the exceptionMethod notification will be called on all handlers from the current (failing) handler back to the initial handler. At present time, if no exceptionMethod was specified, the only output will be the logged error. If an ActionProcessingFaultException is thrown from any process method then an error message will be returned as per the rules defined in the next section. The contents of the error message will either be whatever is returned from the getFaultMessage of the exception, or a default Fault containing the information within the original exception.

Action classes supplied by users to tailor behaviour of the ESB to their specific needs, might need extra run time configuration (for example the Notifier class in the XML above needs the <NotificationList> child element). Each <action> element will utilize the attributes mentioned above and will ignore any other attributes and optional child elements. These will be however passed through to the action class constructor in the require ConfigTree argument. Each action class will be instantiated with it's corresponding <action> element and thus does not see (in fact must not see) sibling action elements.

  1. In JBossESB 4.3 the name of the property used to enclose NotificationList elements in the <action> target is not validated.

Actions and Messages

Actions are triggered by the arrival of a Message. The specific Action implementation is expected to know where the data resides within a Message. Because a Service may be implemented using an arbitrary number of Actions, it is possible that a single input Message could contain information on behalf of more than one Action. In which case it is incumbent on the Action developer to choose one or more unique locations within the Message Body for its data and communicate this to the Service consumers.

Furthermore, because Actions may be chained together it is possible that an Action earlier in the chain modifies the original input Message, or replaces it entirely.

  1. From a security perspective, you should be careful about using unknown Actions within your Service chain. We recommend encrypting information.

If Actions share data within an input Message and each one modifies the information as it flows through the chain, by default we recommend retaining the original information so that Actions further down the chain still have access to it. Obviously there may be situations where this is either not possible or would be unwise. Within JBossESB, Actions that modify the input data can place this within the org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.post named Body location. This means that if there are N Actions in the chain, Action N can find the original data where it would normally look, or if Action N-1 modified the data then N will find it within the other specified location. To further facilitate Action chaining, Action N can see if Action N-2 modified the data by looking in the org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.pre named Body location.

  1. As mentioned earlier, you should use the default named Body location with care when chaining Actions in case chained Actions use it in a conflicting manner.

      1. Handling responses

There are two processing mechanisms supported for handling responses in the action pipeline, implicit processing (based on the response of the actions) and explicit processing.

If the processing is implicit then responses will be processed as follows: -

If the processing is explicit then responses will be processed as follows: -

We recommend that all action pipelines should use the explicit processing mechanism. This can be enabled by simply adding the 'mep' attribute to the 'actions' element in the jboss-esb.xml file. The value of this attribute should be either 'OneWay' or 'RequestResponse'.

      1. Error handling when processing actions

When processing an action chain, it is possible that errors may occur. Such errors should be thrown as exceptions from the Action pipeline, thus terminating the processing of the pipeline. As mentioned earlier, a Fault Message may be returned within an ActionProcessingFaultException. If it is important for information about errors to be returned to the sender (or some intermediary) then the FaultTo EPR should be set. If this is not set, then JBossESB will attempt to deliver error messages based on the ReplyTo EPR and, if that is also not set, the From EPR. If none of these EPRs has been set, then error information will be logged locally.

Error messages of various types can be returned from the Action implementations. However, JBossESB supports the following “system” error messages, all of which may be identified by the mentioned URI in the message Fault, in the case that an exception is thrown and no application specific Fault Message is present:

If an exception is thrown within your Action chain, then it will be propagated back to the client within a FaultMessageException, which is re-thrown from the Courier or ServiceInvoker classes. This exception, which is also thrown whenever a Fault message is received, will contain the Fault code and reason, as well as any propagated exception.

Meta-data and Filters

As a message flows through the ESB it may be useful to attach meta-data to it, such as the time it entered the ESB and the time it left. Furthermore, it may be necessary to dynamically augment the message; for example, adding transaction or security information. Both of these capabilities are supported in JBossESB through the filter mechanism, for both gateway and ESB nodes.

  1. the filter property name, the package for the InputOutputFilter and its signature all changed in JBossESB 4.2 MR3 from earlier milestone releases.

The class org.jboss.soa.esb.filter.InputOutputFilter has two methods:

Filters are defined in the filters section of the jbossesb-properties.xml file (typically located in the jbossesb.sar archive) using the property org.jboss.soa.esb.filter.<number>, where <number> can be any value and is used to indicate the order in which multiple filters are to be called (lowest to highest).

  1. you will need to place any changes to your jbossesb-properties.xml file on each ESB instance that is deployed in your environment. This will ensure that all ESB instances can process the same meta-data.

JBossESB ships with org.jboss.internal.soa.esb.message.filter.MetaDataFilter and org.jboss.internal.soa.message.filter.GatewayFilter which add the following meta-data to the Message as Properties with the indicated property names and the returned String values.

Message Property Name



File, FTP, JMS, SQL, or Hibernate.


The name of the file from which the message was read.


The time the message entered the ESB, e.g., the time it was sent, or the time it arrived at a gateway.


The time the message left the ESB, e.g., the time it was received.


If the message was received via a file related gateway node, then this element will contain the name of the original file from which the message was sourced.


If the message was received via a JMS gateway node, then this element will contain the name of the queue from which it was received.


If the message was received via a SQL gateway node, then this element will contain the original database URL.

  1. Although it is safe to deploy the GatewayFilter on all ESB nodes, it will only add information to a Message if it is deployed on a gateway node.

More meta-data can be added to the message by creating and registering suitable filters. Your filter can determine whether or not it is running within a gateway node through the presence (or absence) of the following named entries within the additional parameters.




The File from which the Message was sourced. This will only be present if this gateway is file based.


The ConfigTree that was used to initialize the gateway instance.

  1. Only file based, JMS and SQL gateways have support for the GatewayFilter in JBossESB 4.5 GA.

What is a Service?

JBossESB does not impose restrictions on what constitutes a service. As we discussed earlier in this document, the ideal SOA infrastructure encourages a loosely coupled interaction pattern between clients and services, where the message is of critical importance and implementation specific details are hidden behind an abstract interface. This allows for the implementations to change without requiring clients/users to change. Only changes to the message definitions necessitate updates to the clients.

As such and as we have seen, JBossESB uses a message driven pattern for service definitions and structures: clients send Messages to services and the basic service interface is essentially a single process method that operates on the Message received. Internally a service is structured from one or more Actions, that can be chained together to process incoming the incoming Message. What an Action does is implementation dependent, e.g., update a database table entry, or call an EJB.

When developing your services, you first need to determine the conceptual interface/contract that it exposes to users/consumers. This contract should be defined in terms of Messages, e.g., what the payload looks like, what type of response Message will be generated (if any) etc.

  1. Once defined, the contract information should be published within the registry. At present JBossESB does not have any automatic way of doing this.

Clients can then use the service as long as they do so according to the published contract. How your service processes the Message and performs the work necessary, is an implementation choice. It could be done within a single Action, or within multiple Actions. There will be the usual trade-offs to make, e.g., manageability versus re-useability.

  1. in subsequent releases we will be improving tool support to facilitate the development of services.

    1. ServiceInvoker

From a clients perspective, the Courier interface and its various implementations can be used to interact with services. However, this is still a relatively low-level approach, requiring developer code to contact the registry and deal with failures. Furthermore, since JBossESB has fail-over capabilities for stateless services, this would again have to be managed by the application. See the Advanced chapter for more details on fail-over.

In JBossESB 4.2, the ServiceInvoker was introduced to help simplify the development effort. The ServiceInvoker hides much of the lower level details and opaquely works with the stateless service fail-over mechanisms. As such, ServiceInvoker is the recommended client-side interface for using services within JBossESB.

public class ServiceInvoker
public ServiceInvoker(Service service) throws MessageDeliverException;
public ServiceInvoker(String serviceCategory, String serviceName) throws MessageDeliverException;

public Message deliverSync(Message message, long timeoutMillis) throws MessageDeliverException, RegistryException, FaultMessageException;
public void deliverAsync(Message message) throws MessageDeliverException;

An instance of ServiceInvoker can be created for each service with which the client requires interactions. Once created, the instance contacts the registry where appropriate to determine the primary EPR and, in the case of fail-overs, any alternative EPRs.

Once created, the client can determine how to send Messages to the service: synchronously (via deliverSync) or asynchronously (via deliverAsync). In the synchronous case, a timeout must be specified which represents how long the client will wait for a response. If no response is received within this period, a MessageDeliverException is thrown.

  1. From JBossESB 4.5 onwards the ResponseTimeoutException is thrown, which is derived from MessageDeliverException.

As mentioned earlier in this document, when sending a Message it is possible to specify values for To, ReplyTo, FaultTo etc. within the Message header. When using the ServiceInvoker, because it has already contacted the registry at construction time, the To field is unnecessary. In fact, when sending a Message through ServiceInvoker, the To field will be ignored in both the synchronous and asynchronous delivery modes. In a future release of JBossESB it may be possible to use any supplied To field as an alternate delivery destination should the EPRs returned by the registry fail to resolve to an active service.


Some Couriers support transactional delivery semantics, e.g., InVM and JMS. The current delivery semantics for such Couriers is based on JMS transacted sessions, i.e., the message is placed on a queue within the scope of a transaction but not actually delivered until the enclosing transaction has committed; it is then pulled by the receiver in the scope of a separate transaction. Unfortunately for synchronous request/response interactions this can result in a timeout waiting for the response since the sender blocks waiting for the response before it can terminate the delivery transaction.

From JBossESB 4.5 onwards we attempt to detect these blocking situations and throw the IncompatibleTransactionScopeException. The application should catch this and act accordingly.

Services and ServiceInvoker

In a client-service environment the terms client and service are used to represent roles and a single entity can be a client and a service simultaneously. As such, you should not consider ServiceInvoker to be the domain of “pure” clients: it can be used within your Services and specifically within Actions. For example, rather than using the built-in Content Based Routing, an Action may wish to re-route an incoming Message to a different Service based on evaluation of certain business logic. Or an Action could decide to route specific types of fault Messages to the Dead Letter Queue for later administration.

The advantage of using ServiceInvoker in this way is that your Services will be able to benefit from the opaque fail-over mechanism described in the Advanced chapter. This means that one-way requests to other Services, faults etc. can be routed in a more robust manner without imposing more complexity on the developer.

InVM Transport

The InVM transport is a new feature in JBossESB 4.3 that provides communication between services running on the same JVM. This means that instances of ServiceInvoker can invoke a service from within the same JVM without any networking or message serialization overhead.

  1. It is important to realize that InVM achieves its performance benefits by optimizing the internal data structures that are used to facilitate inter-service communication. For example, the queue used to store messages is not persistent (durable) which means that Messages may be lost in the event of failures. Furthermore if a service is shutdown before the queue is emptied, those Messages will not be delivered. Further limitations are mentioned throughout this section within corresponding Notes. Because JBossESB allows services to be invoked across multiple different transports concurrently you should be able to design your services such that you can achieve high performance and reliability by the suitable choice of transport for specific Message types.

Earlier versions of the ESB did not support this transport and required every service to be configured with at least one Message Aware listener. This is not longer a requirement; Services can now be configured without any <listeners> configuration and still be invokable from within their VM e.g.

<service category="ServiceCat" name="ServiceName" description="Test Service">
    <actions mep="RequestResponse">
        <action name="action" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.SetPayloadAction">
            <property name="payload" value="Tom Fennelly" />

This makes Service configuration a little more straightforward.

InVM Scope

InVM Service invocation scope can be controlled through the “invmScope” attribute on the <service> element. The ESB currently supports 2 scopes:

  1. NONE: The Service is not invokable over the InVM transport.

  2. GLOBAL: (Default) The Service is invokable over the InVM transport from within the same Classloader scope.

A “LOCAL” scope will be added in a future release, which will restrict invocation to within the same .esb deployment.

Each service can specify their own InVM scope in the invmScope attribute on the <service> element of their services configuration:

    <service category="ServiceCat" name="ServiceName" invmScope="GLOBAL"
       description="Test Service">
       <actions mep="RequestResponse">
          <action name="action"
             <property name="payload" value="Tom Fennelly" />

The default InVM Scope for an ESB deployment can be set in the jbossesb-properties.xml file through the “core:jboss.esb.invm.scope.default” config property. If not defined, the default scope is “GLOBAL”.

InVM Transacted

The InVM listener can execute within a transacted or non-transacted scope in the same manner as the other transports which support transactions. This behaviour can be controlled through explicit or implicit configuration.

The explicit configuration of the transacted scope is controlled through the definition of the “invmTransacted” attribute on the <service> element and will always take precedence over the implicit configuration.

The ImVM listener will be implicitly transacted if there is another transacted transport configured on the service. At present these additional transports can be jms, scheduled or sql.

Transaction Semantics

The InVM transport in JBossESB is not transactional and the message queue is held only in volatile memory. This means that the Message Queue for this transport will be lost in the case of system failure or shutdown.

  1. You may not be able to achieve all of the ACID semantics, particularly when used in conjunction with other transactional resources such as databases, because of the volatility aspect of the InVM queue. But the performance benefits of InVM should outweigh this downside in the majority of cases. In the situations where full ACID semantics are required, we recommend that you use one of the other transactional transports, such as JMS or database.

When using InVM within a transaction, the message will not appear on the receiver's queue until the transaction commits, although the sender will get an immediate acknowledgement that the message has been accepted to be later queued. If a receiver attempts to pull a message from the queue within the scope of a transaction, then the message will be automatically placed back on the queue if that transaction subsequently rolls back. If either a sender or receiver of a message needs to know the transaction outcome then they should either monitor the outcome of the transaction directly, or register a Synchronization with the transaction.

  1. When a message is placed back on the queue by the transaction manager, it may not go back into the same location. This is a deliberate choice in order to maximize performance. If your application needs specific ordering of messages then you should consider a different transport or group related messages into a single “wrapper” message.

Lock-step Delivery

The InVM Transport delivers messages with low overhead to an in-memory message queue. This is very fast and the message queue can become overwhelmed if delivery is happening too quickly for the Service consuming the messages. To mitigate these situations the InVM transport provides a "Lock-Step" delivery mechanism.

The "Lock-Step" delivery method attempts to ensure that messages are not delivered to a service faster than the service is able to retreive them. It does this by blocking message delivery until the receiving Service picks up the message or a timeout period expires.

This is not a synchronous delivery method. It does not wait for a response or for the service to process the message. It only blocks until the message is removed from the queue by the service.

Lock Step delivery is disabled by default, but can be easily enabled for a service using it's <property> settings on the <service>:

<service category="ServiceCat" name="Service2" description="Test Service">
    <property name="inVMLockStep" value="true" />
    <property name="inVMLockStepTimeout" value="4000" />

    <actions mep="RequestResponse">
        <action name="action" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.mock.MockAction" />
  1. If using InVM within the scope of a transaction, lock-step delivery is disabled. This is because the insertion of a message in to the queue is contingent on the commit of the enclosing transaction, which may occur an arbitrary time before or after the expected lock-step wait period.

Load Balancing

One of the features of the ServiceInvoker is that of load balancing invocations in situations where there are multiple endpoints available for the target Service. The ServiceInvoker supports a number of load balancing strategies as part of this feature.

When using the ServiceInvoker, preference is always given to invoking a service over its InVM transport if one is available. Other load balancing strategies are only be applied in the absence of an InVM endpoint for the target Service.


By default, the InVM transport passes Messages “by reference”. In some situations, this can cause data integrity issues, not to mention class cast issues where messages are being exchanged across ClassLoader boundaries.

Message passing “by value” (and so avoid issues such as those listed above) can be turned on by setting the “inVMPassByValue” property on the service in question to “true”:

<service category="ServiceCat" name="Service2" description="Test Service">
    <property name="inVMPassByValue" value="true" />

    <actions mep="RequestResponse">
        <action name="action" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.mock.MockAction" />

Service Contract Definition

A contract definition can be specified on a service by the inclusion of XML schema definitions representing the incoming request, outgoing response and fault detail messages which are supported by the corresponding service. The schemas representing the request and response messages are used to define the format of the contents for the main body section of the message and can enforce validation of that content.

The schemas are declared by specifying the following attributes on the <actions> element associated with the service





The resource containing the schema for the request message, representing a single element.



The resource containing the schema for the response message, representing a single element.



A comma separated list of schemas, each representing one or more fault elements.



The location of the request contents within the body, if not the default location.



The location of the response contents within the body, if not the default location.


Message validation

The contents of the request and response messages can be automatically validated providing that the associated schema has been declared on the '<actions>' element. The validation can be enabled by specifying the 'validate' attribute on the '<actions>' element with a value of 'true'.

Validation is disabled by default.

Exposing an ESB service as a webservice

Declaration of the contract schemas will automatically enable the exposure of the ESB service through a webservice endpoint, the contract for which can be located through the contract web application. This functionality can modified by specifying the 'webservice' attribute, the values for which are as follows.




No webservice endpoint will be published


A webservice endpoint is published (default)

By default the webservice endpoint does not support WS-Addressing but this can be enabled through use of the 'addressing' attribute.




No support for WS-Addressing (default)


Require WS-Addressing support.

When support for addressing is enabled, the WS-Addressing Message Id, Relates To URIs and relationship types will be added as properties of the incoming messages.

Property Name



The WS-Addressing message id


A String array containing the WS-Addressing RelatesTo URIs.


A String array containing the WS-Addressing Relationship Types corresponding to the RelatesTo URIs.

The following example illustrates the declaration of a service which wishes to validate the request/response messages but without exposing the service through a webservice endpoint.

<service category="ServiceCat" name="ServiceName" description="Test Service">
    <actions mep="RequestResponse" inXsd="/request.xsd" outXsd="/response.xsd"
            webservice="false" validate="true">

The following example illustrates the declaration of a service which wishes to validate the request/response messages and expose the service through a webservice endpoint. In addition the service expects the request to be provided in the named body location 'REQUEST' and will return its response in the named body location 'RESPONSE'.

<service category="ServiceCat" name="ServiceName" description="Test Service">
    <actions mep="RequestResponse" inXsd="/request.xsd" outXsd="/response.xsd"
            validate="true" requestLocation=”REQUEST” responseLocation=”RESPONSE”>

Other Components


In this Chapter we shall look at other infrastructural components and services within JBossESB. Several of these services have their own documentation which you should also read: the aim of this Chapter is to simply give an overview of what else is available to developers.

    1. The Message Store

The message store mechanism in JBossESB is designed with audit tracking purposes in mind. As with other ESB services, it is a pluggable service, which allows for you, the developer to plug in your own persistence mechanism should you have special needs. The implementation supplied with JBossESB is a database persistence mechanism. If you require say, a file persistence mechanism, then it’s just a matter of you writing your own service to do this, and override the default behaviour with a configuration change.

One thing to point out with the Message Store – this is a base implementation. We will be working with the community and partners to drive the feature functionality set of the message store to support advanced audit and management requirements. This is meant to be a starting point.

    1. Data Transformation

Often clients and services will communicate using the same vocabulary. However, there are situations where this is not the case and on-the-fly transformation from one data format to another will be required. It is unrealistic to assume that a single data format will be suitable for all business objects, particularly in a large scale or long running deployment. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a mechanism for transforming from one data format to another.

In JBossESB this is the role the Transformation Service. This version of the ESB is shipped with an out-of-the-box Transformation Service based on Milyn Smooks. Smooks is a Transformation Implementation and Management framework. It allows you implement your transformation logic in XSLT, Java etc and provides a management framework through which you can centrally manage the transformation logic for your message-set.

For more details see the “Message Transformations” chapter in the ServicesGuide.

    1. Content-based Routing

Sometimes it is necessary for the ESB to dynamically route messages to their sources. For example, the original destination may no longer be available, the service may have moved, or the application simply wants to have more control over where messages go based on content, time-of-day etc. The Content-based Routing mechanism within JBossESB can be used to route Messages based on arbitrarily complex rules, which can be defined within XPath or JBoss Rules (Drools) notation.

    1. The Registry

In the context of SOA, a registry provides applications and businesses a central point to store information about their services. It is expected to provide the same level of information and the same breadth of services to its clients as that of a conventional market place. Ideally a registry should also facilitate the automated discovery and execution of e-commerce transactions and enabling a dynamic environment for business transactions. Therefore, a registry is more than an “e-business directory”. It is an inherent component of the SOA infrastructure.

In many ways, the Registry Service is at the heart of JBossESB: services can self-publish their endpoint references (EPRs) into the Registry when they are activated, and remove them when they are taken out of service. Consumers can introspect over the Registry to determine the EPR for the right service for the work at hand.


How to use the Message

The Message is a critical component in the SOA development approach. In contains application specific data sent from clients to services and vice versa. In some cases that data may be as simple as “turn on the light”, or as complex as “search this start chart for any anomalous data that may indicate a planet.” What goes into a Message is entirely application specific and represents an important aspect of the contract between a service and its clients. In this section we shall describe some best practices around the Message and how to use it.

Let's consider the following example which uses a Flight Reservation service. This service supports the following operations:

When developing this service, it will likely use technologies such as EJB3, Hibernate etc. to implement the business logic. In this example we shall ignore how the business logic is implemented and concentrate on the service.

The role of the service is to plug the logic into the bus. In order to do this, we must determine how the service is exposed on to the bus, i.e., what contract it defines for clients. In the current version of JBossESB, that contract takes the form of the Messages that clients and services can exchange. There is no formal specification for this contract within the ESB, i.e., at present it is something that the developer defines and must communicate to clients out-of-band from the ESB. This will be rectified in subsequent releases.

    1. The Message structure

From a service perspective, of all the components within a Message, the Body is probably the most important, since it is used to convey information specific to the business logic. In order to interact, both client and service must understand each other. This takes the form of agreeing on the transport (e.g., JMS or HTTP), as well as agreeing on the dialect (e.g., where in the Message data will appear and what format it will take).

If we take the simple case of a client sending a Message directly to our Flight Reservation service, then we need to determine how the service can determine which of the operations the Message concerns. In this case the developer decides that the opcode (operation code) will appear within the Body as a String (“reserve”, “query”, “upgrade”) at the location “org.example.flight.opcode”. Any other String value (or the absence of any value) will be considered an illegal Message.

  1. It is important that all values within a Message are given unique names, to avoid clashes with other clients or services.

The Message Body is the primary way in which data should be exchanged between clients and services. It is flexible enough to contain any number of arbitrary data type. The other parameters necessary for carrying out the business logic associated with each operation would also be suitably encoded.







String: reserve





String: query





String: upgrade




As we have mentioned, all of these operations return information to the client. Such information will likewise be encapsulated within a Message. The determination of the format of such response Messages will go through the same processes as we are currently describing. For simplification purposes we shall not consider the response Messages further.

From a JBossESB Action perspective, the service may be built using one or more Actions. For example, one Action may pre-process the incoming Message and transform the content in some way, before passing it on to the Action which is responsible for the main business logic. Each of these Actions may have been written in isolation (possibly by different groups within the same organization or by completely different organizations). In such an architecture it is important that each Action has its own unique view of where the Message data resides that is of interest only to that Action or it is entirely possible for chained Actions to overwrite or interfere with one another.

    1. The Service

At this point we have enough information to construct the service. For simplicity, we shall assume that the business logic is encapsulated within the following pseudo-object:

class AirlineReservationSystem
public void reserveSeat (...);
public void querySeat (...);
public void upgradeSeat (...);

  1. You could develop your business logic from POJOs, EJBs, Spring etc. JBossESB provides support for many of these approaches out of the box. You should examine the relevant documentation and examples.

The process method of the service Action (we'll assume no chaining of Actions) then becomes (ignoring error checking):

public Message process (Message message) throws Exception
String opcode = message.getBody().get(“org.example.flight.opcode”);

if (opcode.equals(“reserve”))
if (opcode.equals(“query”))
if (opcode.equals(“upgrade”))
throw new InvalidOpcode();

return null;

  1. As with WS-Addressing, rather than embed the opcode within the Message Body, you could use the Action field of the Message Header. This has the drawback that it does not work if multiple JBossESB Actions are chained together and each needs a different opcode.

      1. Unpicking the payload

As you can see, the process method is only the start. Now we must provide methods to decode the incoming Message payload (the Body):

public void reserveSeat (Message message) throws Exception
int seatNumber = message.getBody().get(“org.example.flight.seatnumber”);
String flight = message.getBody().get(“org.example.flight.flightnumber”);

boolean success = airlineReservationSystem.reserveSeat(seatNumber, flight);

// now create a response Message

Message responseMessage = ...


// now deliver the response Message

What this method illustrates is how the information within the Body is extracted and then used to invoke a method on some business logic. In the case of reserveSeat, a response is expected by the client. This response Message is constructed using any information returned by the business logic as well as delivery information obtained from the original received Message. In this example, we need the To address for the response, which we take from the ReplyTo field of the incoming Message. We also need to relate the response with the original request and we accomplish this through the RelatesTo field of the response and the MessageID of the request.

All of the other operations supported by the service will be similarly coded.

    1. The Client

As soon as we have the Message definitions supported by the service, we can construct the client code. The business logic used to support the service is never exposed directly by the service (that would break one of the important principles of SOA: encapsulation). This is essentially the inverse of the service code:

ServiceInvoker flightService = new ServiceInvoker(...);
Message request = // create new Message of desired type

request.getBody().add(“org.example.flight.seatnumber”, 1);
request.getBody().add(“ org.example.flight.flightnumber”, “BA1234”);


Message response = null;

response = flightService.deliverSync(request, 1000);

if (response.getHeader().getCall().getRelatesTo() == 1234)
// it's out response!

response = null; // and keep looping

} while maximumRetriesNotExceeded;

  1. Much of what we have outlined above may seem similar to those who have worked with traditional client/server stub generators. In those systems, the low-level details, such as opcodes and parameters, would be hidden behind higher level stub abstractions. In future releases of JBossESB we intend to support such abstractions to easy the development approach. As such, working with the raw Message components, such as Body and Header, will be hidden from the majority of developers.

    1. Configuration for a remote ServiceInvoker

Using the ServiceInvoker from within actions in the ESB does not require any additional configuration and will work out of the box. But using the ServiceInvoker from a remote JVM, such as from a stand-alone Java application, a servlet, an EJB etc, will require the following jars need to be available:

Sample Client

The following Java program can be used to verify that the configuration of a remote client. This assumes that the helloworld quickstart has been deployed and that the ESB server is running.

package org.jboss.esb.client;

import org.jboss.soa.esb.client.ServiceInvoker;

import org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.message.MessageDeliverException;

import org.jboss.soa.esb.message.Message;

import org.jboss.soa.esb.message.format.MessageFactory;

public class EsbClient


public static void main(String[] args)






Message message = MessageFactory.getInstance().getMessage();

message.getBody().add("Sample payload");

ServiceInvoker invoker = new ServiceInvoker("FirstServiceESB", "SimpleListener");



catch (final MessageDeliverException e)






    1. Hints and Tips

You may find the following useful when developing your clients and services.

Advanced Topics


In this Chapter we shall look at some more advanced concepts within JBossESB.

Fail-over and load-balancing support

In mission critical systems it is important to design with redundancy in mind. JBossESB 4.2.GA is the first version with built-in fail-over, load balancing and delayed message redelivery to help you build a robust architecture. When you use SOA it is implied that the Service has become the building unit. JBossESB allows you to replicate identical services across many nodes. Where each node can be a virtual or physical machine running an instance of JBossESB. The collective of all these JBossESB instances is called "The Bus". Services within the bus use different delivery channels to exchange messages. In ESB terminology one such channel maybe JMS, FTP, HTTP, etc. These different "protocols" are provided by systems external to the ESB; the JMS-provider, the FTP server, etc. Services can be configured to listen to one or more protocols. For each protocol that it is configured to listen on, it creates an End Point Reference (EPR) in the Registry.

Services, EPRs, listeners and actions

As we have discussed previously, within the jboss-esb.xml each service element consists of one or more listeners and one or more actions. Let's take a look at the JBossESBHelloworld example. The configuration fragment below is loosely based on the configuration of the JBossESBHelloworld example. When the service initializes it registers the category, name and description to the UDDI registry. Also for each listener element it will register a ServiceBinding to UDDI, in which it stores an EPR. In this case it will register a JMSEPR for this service, as it is a jms-listener. The jms specific like queue name etc are not shown, but appeared at the top of the jboss-esb.xml where you can find the 'provider' section. In the jms-listener we can simply reference the "quickstartEsbChannel" in the busidref attribute.

Figure 7-1: Hello World configuration fragment, one service instance on one node.

<service category="FirstServiceESB" name="SimpleListener" description="Hello World">
        <jms-listener name="helloWorld" busidref="quickstartEsbChannel" maxThreads="1"/>
        <action name="action1" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.SystemPrintln"/>

Given the category and service name, another service can send a message to our Hello World Service by looking up the Service in the Registry. It will receive the JMSEPR and it can use that to send a message to. All this heavy lifting is done in the ServiceInvoker class. When our HelloWorld Service receives a message over the quickstartEsbChannel, it will hand this message to the process method of the first action in the ActionPipeline, which is the SystemPrintln action.

  1. Because ServiceInvoker hides much of the fail-over complexity from users, it necessarily only works with native ESB Messages. Furthermore, in JBossESB 4.2.1 not all gateways have been modified to use the ServiceInvoker, so incoming ESB-unaware messages to those gateway implementations may not always be able to take advantage of service fail-over.

Replicated Services

In our example we have this service running on let's say Node1. What happens if we simply take the helloworld.esb and deploy it to Node2 as well (see figure 7-2)? Let's say we're using jUDDI for our Registry and we have configured all our nodes to access one central jUDDI database (it is recommended to use a clustered database for that). Node2 will find that the FirstServiceESB - SimpleListener Service is already registered! It will simply add a second ServiceBinding to this service. So now we have 2 ServiceBindings for this Service. We now have our first replicated Service! If Node1 goes down, Node2 will keep on working.

Figure 7-2: Two service instance each on a different node.

You will get load balancing as both service instances listen to the same queue. However this means that we still have a single point of failure in our setup. This is where Protocol Clustering maybe an option, which we shall describe in the next section.

This type of replication can be used to increase the availability of a service or to provide load balancing. To further illustrate, consider the diagram below which has a logical service (Application Service) that is actually comprised of 4 individual services, each of which provides the same capabilities and conforms to the same service contract. They differ only in that they do not need to share the same transport protocol. However, as far as the users of Application Service are concerned they see only a single service, which is identified by the service name and category. The ServiceInvoker hides the fact that Application Service is actually composed of 4 other services from the clients. It masks failures of the individual services and will allow clients to make forward progress as long as at least one instance of the replicated service group remains available.

  1. this type of replication should only be used for stateless services.

Replication of services may be defined by service providers outside of the control of service consumers. As such, there may be times when the sender of a message does not want to silently fail-over to using an alternative service if one is mentioned within the Registry. As such, if the Message property org.jboss.soa.esb.exceptionOnDeliverFailure is set to true then no retry attempt will be made by the ServiceInvoker and MessageDeliverException will be thrown. If you want to specify this approach for all Messages then the same property can be defined within the Core section of the JBossESB property file.

Protocol Clustering

Some JMS providers can be clustered. JBossMessaging is one of these providers, which is why we use this as our default JMS provider in JBossESB. When you cluster JMS you remove a single point of failure from your architecture, see Figure 7-3.

Figure 7-3: Protocol clustering: Here we cluster JMS.

Please read the documentation on Clustering for JBossMessaging if you want to enable JMS clustering. Both JBossESB replication and JMS clustering can be used together, as illustrated in the following figure. In this example, Service A is identified in the registry by a single JMSEpr. However, opaquely to the client, that JMSEpr points to a clustered JMS queue, which has been separately configured (in an implementation manner) to support 3 services. This is a federated approach to availability and load balancing. In fact masking the replication of services from users (the client in the case of the JBossESB replication approach, and JBossESB in the case of the JMS clustering) is in line with SOA principles: hiding these implementation details behind the service endpoint and not exposing them at the contract level.

  1. If using JMS clustering in this way you will obviously need to ensure that your configuration is correctly configured. For instance, if you place all of your ESB services within a JMS cluster then you cannot expect to benefit from ESB replication.

Other examples of Protocol Clustering would be a NAS for the FileSystem protocol, but what if your provider simply cannot provide any clustering? Well in that case you can add multiple listeners to your service, and use multiple (JMS) providers. However this will require fail-over and load-balancing across providers which leads us to the next section.


If you would like to run the same service on more than one node in a cluster you have to wait for service registry cache revalidation before the service is fully working in the clustered environment. You can setup this cache revalidation timeout in deploy/jbossesb.sar/jbossesb-properties.xml:

<properties name="core">

<property name="org.jboss.soa.esb.registry.cache.life" value="60000"/>


60 seconds is the default timeout.

Channel Fail-over and Load Balancing

Our HelloWorld Service can listen to more then 1 protocol. Here we have added a JMS channel.

<service category="FirstServiceESB" name="SimpleListener" description="Hello World">
        <jms-listener name="helloWorld"  busidref="quickstartEsbChannel" maxThreads="1"/>
        <jms-listener name="helloWorld2" busidref="quickstartFtpChannel2" maxThreads="1"/>

Now our Service is simultaneously listening to two JMS queues. Now these queues can be provided by JMS providers on different physical boxes! So we now have a made a redundant JMS connection between two services. We can even mix protocols in this setup, so we can also add and ftp-listener to the mix.

Figure 7-5: Adding an 2 FTP servers to the mix.

<service category="FirstServiceESB" name="SimpleListener" description="Hello World">
        <jms-listener name="helloWorld"  busidref="quickstartEsbChannel" maxThreads="1"/>
        <jms-listener name="helloWorld2" busidref="quickstartJmsChannel2" maxThreads="1"/>
        <ftp-listener name="helloWorld3" busidref="quickstartFtpChannel3" maxThreads="1"/>
        <ftp-listener name="helloWorld4" busidref="quickstartFtpChannel3" maxThreads="1"/>

When the ServiceInvoker tries to deliver a message to our Service it will get a choice of 8 EPRs now (4 EPRs from Node1 and 4 EPRs from Node2). How will it decide which one to use? For that you can configure a Policy. In the jbossesb-properties.xml you can set the 'org.jboss.soa.esb.loadbalancer.policy'. Right now three Policies are provided, or you can create your own.

The EPR list the Policy works with may get smaller over time as dead EPRs will be removed from the (cached) list. When the list is exhausted or the time-to-live of the list cache is exceeded, the ServiceInvoker will obtain a fresh list of EPRs from the Registry. The 'org.jboss.soa.esb.registry.cache.life' can be set in the jbossesb-properties file, and is defaulted to 60,000 milliseconds. What if none of the EPRs work at the moment? This is where we may use Message Redelivery Service.

Message Redelivery

If the list of EPRs contains nothing but dead EPRs the ServiceInvoker can do one of two things:

  1. The DeadLetterService is turned on by default, however in the jbossesb-properties.xml you could set org.jboss.soa.esb.dls.redeliver to false to turn off its use. If you want to control this on a per message basis then set the org.jboss.soa.esb.dls.redeliver property in the specific Message properties accordingly. The Message property will be used in preference to any global setting. The default is to use the value set in the configuration file.

Scheduling of Services

JBossESB 4.5 GA supports 2 types of providers:

  1. Bus Providers, which supply messages to action processing pipelines via messaging protocols such as JMS and HTTP. This provider type is “triggered” by the underlying messaging provider.

  2. Schedule Providers, which supply messages to action processing pipelines based on a schedule driven model i.e. where the underlying message delivery mechanism (e.g. the file system) offers no support for triggering the ESB when messages are available for processing, a scheduler periodically triggers the listener to check for new messages.

Scheduling is new to 4.2 of the ESB and not all of the listeners have been migrated over to this model yet.

JBossESB 4.5 GA offers a <schedule-listener> as well as 2 <schedule-provider> types - <simple-schedule> and <cron-schedule>. The <schedule-listener> is configured with a “composer” class, which is an implementation of the org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.ScheduledEventMessageComposer interface.

    1. Simple Schedule

This schedule type provides a simple scheduling capability based on a the following attributes:

  1. scheduleid”: A unique identifier string for the schedule. Used to reference a schedule from a listener.

  2. frequency”: The frequency (in seconds) with which all schedule listeners should be triggered.

  3. execCount”: The number of times the schedule should be executed.

  4. startDate”: The schedule start date and time. The format of this attribute value is that of the XML Schema type “dateTime”. See dateTime.

  5. endDate”: The schedule end date and time. The format of this attribute value is that of the XML Schema type “dateTime”. See dateTime.


        <schedule-provider name="schedule">
            <simple-schedule scheduleid="1-sec-trigger" frequency="1" execCount="5" />
    1. Cron Schedule

This schedule type provides scheduling capability based on a CRON expression. The attributes for this schedule type are as follows:

  1. scheduleid”: A unique identifier string for the schedule. Used to reference a schedule from a listener.

  2. cronExpression”: CRON expression.

  3. startDate”: The schedule start date and time. The format of this attribute value is that of the XML Schema type “dateTime”. See dateTime.

  4. endDate”: The schedule end date and time. The format of this attribute value is that of the XML Schema type “dateTime”. See dateTime.


        <schedule-provider name="schedule">
            <cron-schedule scheduleid="cron-trigger" cronExpression="0/1 * * * * ?" />

    1. Scheduled Listener

The <scheduled-listener> can be used to perform scheduled tasks based on a <simple-schedule> or <cron-schedule> configuration.

It's configured with an “event-processor” class, which can be an implementation of one of org.jboss.soa.esb.schedule.ScheduledEventListener or org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.ScheduledEventMessageComposer.

The attributes of this listener are:

  1. name”: The name of the listener instance.

  2. event-processor”: The event processor class that's called on every schedule trigger. Se above for implementation details.

  3. One of:

    1. Example Configurations

The following is an example configuration involving the <scheduled-listener> and the <cron-schedule>.

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>
<jbossesb xmlns="http://anonsvn.labs.jboss.com/labs/jbossesb/trunk/product/etc/schemas/xml/jbossesb-1.0.1.xsd">

        <schedule-provider name="schedule">
            <cron-schedule scheduleid="cron-trigger" cronExpression="0/1 * * * * ?" />

        <service category="ServiceCat" name="ServiceName" description="Test Service">

                <scheduled-listener name="cron-schedule-listener" scheduleidref="cron-trigger" 
                     event-processor="org.jboss.soa.esb.schedule.MockScheduledEventMessageComposer" />

                <action name="action" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.mock.MockAction" />

    1. Quartz Scheduler Property Configuration

The Scheduling functionality in JBossESB is built on top of the Quartz Scheduler. The default Quartz Scheduler instance configuration used by JBossESB is as follows:

org.quartz.scheduler.instanceName = DefaultQuartzScheduler
org.quartz.scheduler.rmi.export = false
org.quartz.scheduler.rmi.proxy = false
org.quartz.scheduler.wrapJobExecutionInUserTransaction = false

org.quartz.threadPool.class = org.quartz.simpl.SimpleThreadPool
org.quartz.threadPool.threadCount = 2
org.quartz.threadPool.threadPriority = 5
org.quartz.threadPool.threadsInheritContextClassLoaderOfInitializingThread = true

org.quartz.jobStore.misfireThreshold = 60000

org.quartz.jobStore.class = org.quartz.simpl.RAMJobStore

Any of these Scheduler configurations can be overridden, or/and new ones can be added. You can do this by simply specifying the configuration directly on the <schedule-provider> configuration as a <property> element. For example, if you wish to increase the thread pool size to 5:

<schedule-provider name="schedule">
    <property name=”org.quartz.threadPool.threadCount” value=”5” />
    <cron-schedule scheduleid="cron-trigger" cronExpression="0/1 * * * * ?" />

Fault-tolerance and Reliability


In this Chapter we shall look at the reliability characteristics of JBossESB. We shall examine what failure modes you should expect to be tolerated with this release and give advice on how to improve the fault tolerance of your applications. However, in order to proceed we need to define some important terms. If you wish to skip the following sections because you understand this topic already, you may go straight to the Reliability Guarantees section.

Dependability is defined as the trustworthiness of a component such that reliance can be justifiably placed on the service (the behavior as perceived by a user) it delivers. The reliability of a component is a measure of its continuous correct service delivery. A failure occurs when the service provided by the system no longer complies with its specification. An error is that part of a system state which is liable to lead to failure, and a fault is defined as the cause of an error.

A fault-tolerant system is one which is designed to fulfill its specified purpose despite the occurrence of component failures. Techniques for providing fault-tolerance usually require mechanisms for consistent state recovery mechanisms, and detecting errors produced by faulty components. A number of fault-tolerance techniques exist, including replication and transactions.

Failure classification

Given a (distributed) system, it would be useful if we were able to describe its behavior formally in a way that will help establish the correctness of the applications run on it. If this then imposes restrictions on the permissible behavior of the applications we will need to understand how these restrictions can be enforced and the implications in weakening or strengthening them. A useful method of building such a formal description with respect to fault-tolerance is to categorize the system components according to the types of faults they are assumed to exhibit.

Four possible classifications of failures are: omission, value, timing, and arbitrary. Associated with each component in the system will be a specification of its correct behavior for a given set of inputs. A non-faulty component will produce an output that is in accordance with this specification. The response from a faulty component need not be as specified, i.e., it can be anything. The response from a given component for a given input will be considered to be correct if not only the output value is correct but also that the output is produced on time, i.e., produced within a specified time limit.

The classifications are:

An arbitrary fault causes any violation of a component’s specified behavior. All other fault types preclude certain types of fault behavior, the omission fault type being the most restrictive. Thus the omission and arbitrary faults represent two ends of a fault classification spectrum, with the other fault types placed in between. The latter failure classifications thus subsume the characteristics of those classes before them, e.g., omission faults (failures) can be treated as a special case of value, and timing faults (failures). Such ordering can be represented as a hierarchy:

Fault classification hierarchy.

JBossESB and the Fault Models

Within JBossESB there is nothing that will allow it to tolerate Byzantine/arbitrary failures. As you can probably imagine, these are extremely difficult failures to detect due to their nature. Protocols do exist to allow systems to tolerate arbitrary failures, but they often require multi-phase coordination or digital signatures. Future releases of JBossESB may incorporate support for some of these approaches.

Because value, timing and omission failures often require semantic information concerning the application (or specific operations), there is only so much that JBossESB can do directly to assist with these types of faults. However, by correct use of JBossESB capabilities such as RelatesTo and MessageID within the Message header, it is possible for applications to determine whether or not a received Message is the one they are waiting for or a delayed Message, for example. Unfortunately Messages that are provided too soon by a service, e.g., asynchronous one-way responses to one-way requests, may be lost due to the underlying transport implementation. For instance, if using a protocol such as HTTP there is a finite buffer (set at the operating system level) within which responses can be held before they are passed to the application. If this buffer is exceeded then information within it may be lost in favor of new Messages. Transports such as FTP or SQL do not necessarily suffer from this specific limitation, but may exhibit other resource restrictions that can result in the same behavior.

Tolerating Messages that are delayed is sometimes easier than tolerating those that arrive too early. However, from an application perspective, if an early Message is lost (e.g., by buffer overflow) it is not possible to distinguish it from one that is infinitely delayed. Therefore, if you construct your applications (consumers and services) to use a retry mechanism in the case of lost Messages, timing and omission failures should be tolerated, with the following exception: your consumer picks up an early response out of order and incorrectly processes it (which then becomes a value failure). Fortunately if you use RelatesTo and MessageID within the Message header, you can spot incorrect Message sequences without having to process the entire payload (which is obviously another option available to you).

Within a synchronous request-response interaction pattern, many systems built upon RPC will automatically resend the request if a response has not been received within a finite period of time. Unfortunately at present JBossESB does not do this and you will have to used the timeout mechanism within Couriers or ServiceInvoker to determine when (and whether) to send the Message again. As we saw in the Advanced Chapter, it will retransmit the Message if it suspects a failure of the service has occurred that would affect Message delivery.

  1. You should use caution when retransmitting Messages to services. JBossESB currently has no notion of retained results or detecting retransmissions within the service, so any duplicate Messages will be delivered to the service automatically. This may mean that your service receives the same Message multiple times (e.g., it was the initial service response that got lost rather than the initial request). As such, your service may attempt to perform the same work. If using retransmission (either explicitly or through the ServiceInvoker fail-over mechanisms), you will have to deal with multiple requests within your service to ensure it is idempotent.

The use of transactions (such as those provided by JBossTS) and replication protocols (as provided by systems like JGroups) can help to tolerate many of these failure models. Furthermore, in the case where forward progress is not possible because of a failure, using transactions the application can then roll back and the underlying transaction system will guarantee data consistency such that it will appear as though the work was never attempted. At present JBossESB offers transactional support through JBossTS when deployed within the JBoss Application Server.

Failure Detectors and Failure Suspectors

An ideal failure detector is one which can allow for the unambiguous determination of the liveliness of an entity, (where an entity may be a process, machine etc.,), within a distributed system. However, guaranteed detection of failures in a finite period of time is not possible because it is not possible to differentiate between a failed system and one which is simply slow in responding.

Current failure detectors use timeout values to determine the liveness of entities: for example, if a machine does not respond to an “are-you-alive?” message within a specified time period, it is assumed to have failed. If the values assigned to such timeouts are wrong (e.g., because of network congestion), incorrect failures may be assumed, potentially leading to inconsistencies when some machines “detect” the failure of another machine while others do not. Therefore, such timeouts are typically assigned given what can be assumed to be the worst case scenario within the distributed environment in which they are to be used, e.g., worst case network congestion and machine load. However, distributed systems and applications rarely perform exactly as expected from one execution to another. Therefore, fluctuations from the worst case assumptions are possible, and there is always a finite probability of making an incorrect failure detection decision.

Given that guaranteed failure detection based upon timeouts is not possible, there has been much work on failure suspectors: a failure suspector works by realising that although guaranteed failure detection is impossible, enforcing a decision that a given entity may have failed on to other, active entities is possible. Therefore, if one entity assumes another has failed, a protocol is executed between the remaining entities to either agree that it will be assumed to have failed (in which case it is excluded from the system and no further work by it will be accepted) or that it has not failed: the fact that one entity thinks it has failed does not mean that all entities will reach the same decision. If the entity has not failed and is excluded then it must eventually execute another protocol to be recognised as being alive.

The advantage of the failure suspector is that all correctly functioning entities within the distributed environment will agree upon the liveness of another suspected failed entity. The disadvantage is that such failure suspection protocols are heavy-weight, typically requiring several rounds of agreement. In addition, since suspected failure is still based upon timeout values, it is possible for non-failed entities to be excluded, thus reducing (possibly critical) resource utilisation and availability.

Some applications can tolerate the fact that failure detection mechanisms may occasionally return an incorrect answer. However, for other applications the incorrect determination of the liveliness of an entity may lead to problems such as data corruption, or in the case of mission critical applications (e.g., aircraft control systems or nuclear reactor monitoring) could result in loss of life.

At present JBossESB does not support failure detectors or failure suspectors. We hope to address this shortcoming in future releases. For now you should develop your consumers and services using the techniques previously mentioned (e.g., MessageID and time-out/retry) to attempt to determine whether or not a given service has failed. In some situations it is better and more efficient for the application to detect and deal with suspected failures.

Reliability guarantees

As we have seen, there are a range of ways in which failures can happen within a distributed system. In this section we will translate those into concrete examples of how failures could affect JBossESB and applications deployed on it. In the section on Recommendations we shall cover ways in which you can configure JBossESB to better tolerate these faults, or how you should approach your application development.

There are many components and services within JBossESB. The failure of some of them may go unnoticed to some or all of your applications depending upon when the failure occurs. For example, if the Registry Service crashes after your consumer has successfully obtained all necessary EPR information for the services it needs in order to function, then it will have no adverse affect on your application. However, if it fails before this point, your application will not be able to make forward progress. Therefore, in any determination of reliability guarantees it is necessary to consider when failures occur as well as the types of those failures.

It is never possible to guarantee 100% reliability and fault tolerance. The laws of physics (namely thermodynamics and the always increasing nature of entropy) mean that hardware degrades and human error is inevitable. All we can ever do is offer a probabilistic approach: with a high degree of probability, a system will tolerate failures and ensure data consistency/make forward progress. Furthermore, proving fault-tolerance techniques such as transactions or replication comes at a price: performance. This trade-off between performance and fault-tolerance is best achieved with application knowledge: any attempts at opaquely imposing a specific approach will inevitably lead to poorer performance in situations where it is imply not necessary. As such, you will find that many of the fault-tolerance techniques supported by JBossESB are disabled by default. You should enable them when it makes sense to do so.

Message loss

We have previously discussed how message loss or delay may adversely affect applications. We have also shown some examples of how messages could be lost within JBossESB. In this section we shall discuss message loss in more detail.

Many distributed systems support reliable message delivery, either point-to-point (one consumer and one provider) or group based (many consumers and one provider). Typically the semantics imposed on reliability are that the message will be delivered or the sender will be able to know with certainty that it did not get to the receiver, even in the presence of failures. It is frequently the case that systems employing reliable messaging implementations distinguish between a message being delivered to the recipient and it being processed by the recipient: for instance, simply getting the message to a service does not mean much if a subsequent crash of the service occurs before it has time to work on the contents of the message.

Within JBossESB, the only transport you can use which gives the above mentioned failure semantics on Message delivery and processing is JMS: with transacted sessions (an optional part of the JMSEpr), it is possible to guarantee that Messages are received and processed in the presence of failures. If a failure occurs during processing by the service, the Message will be placed back on to the JMS queue for later re-processing. However, this does have some important performance implications: transacted sessions can be significantly slower than non-transacted sessions so should be used with caution.

Because none of the other transports supported by JBossESB come with transactional or reliable delivery guarantees, it is possible for Messages to be lost. However, in most situations the likelihood of this occurring is small. Unless there is a simultaneous failure of both sender and receiver (possible but not probable), the sender will be informed by JBossESB about any failure to deliver the Message. If a failure of the receiver occurs whilst processing and a response was expected, then the receiver will eventually time-out and can retry.

  1. Using asynchronous message delivery can make failure detection/suspicion difficult (theoretically impossible to achieve). You should consider this aspect when developing your applications.

For these reasons, the Message fail-over and redelivery protocol that was described in the Advanced Chapter is a good best-effort approach. If a failure of the service is suspected then it will select an alternative EPR (assuming one is available) and use it. However, if this failure suspicion is wrong, then it is possible that multiple services will get to operate on the same Message concurrently. Therefore, although it offers a more robust approach to fail-over, it should be used with care. It works best where your services are stateless and idempotent, i.e., the execution of the same message multiple times is the same as executing it once.

For many services and applications this type of redelivery mechanism is fine. The robustness it provides over a single EPR can be a significant advantage. The failure modes where it does not work, i.e., where the client and service fails or the service is incorrectly assumed to have failed, are relatively uncommon. If your services cannot be idempotent, then until JBossESB supports transactional delivery of messages or some form of retained results, you should either use JMS or code your services to be able to detect retransmissions and cope with multiple services performing the same work concurrently.

Suspecting Endpoint Failures

We saw earlier how failure detection/suspicion is difficult to achieve. In fact until/unless a failed machine recovers, it is not possible to determine the difference between a crashed machine or one that is simply running extremely slowly. Furthermore, because networks can become partitioned, it is entirely possible that different consumers have different views of which services are available (often referred to as split-brain syndrome).

Supported Crash Failure Modes

Unless using transactions or a reliable message delivery protocol such as JMS, JBossESB will only tolerate crash failures that are not catastrophic (i.e., the entire system does not fail) and result in the ability of JBossESB and/or the application to unambiguously reason about the liveness of the endpoints involved. If services crash or shutdown cleanly before receiving messages, then it is safe to use transports other than JMS.

Component Specifics

In this section we shall look at specific components and services within JBossESB.


Once a message is accepted by a Gateway it will not be lost unless sent within the ESB using an unreliable transport. All of the following JBossESB transports can be configured to either reliably deliver the Message or ensure it is not removed from the system: JMS, FTP, SQL. Unfortunately HTTP cannot be so configured.


The ServiceInvoker will place undeliverable Messages to the Redelivery Queue if sent asynchronously. Synchronous Message delivery that fails will be indicated immediately to the sender. In order for the ServiceInvoker to function correctly the transport must indicate an unambiguous failure to deliver to the sender. A simultaneous failure of the sender and receiver may result in the Message being lost.

JMS Broker

Messages that cannot be delivered to the JMS broker will be queued within the Redelivery Queue. For enterprise deployments a clustered JMS broker is recommended.

Action Pipelining

As with most distributed systems, we differentiate between a Message being received by the container within which services reside and it being processed by the ultimate destination. It is possible for Messages to be delivered successfully but for an error or crash during processing within the Action pipeline to cause it to be lost. As mentioned previously, it is possible to configure some of the JBossESB transports so they do not delete received Messages when they are processed, so they will not be lost in the event of an error or crash.


Given the previous overview of failure models and the capabilities within JBossESB to tolerate them, we arrive at the following recommendations:

Despite what you may have read in this Chapter, failures are uncommon. Over the years hardware reliability has improved significantly and good software development practices including the use of formal verification tools have reduced the chances of software problems. We have given the information within this Chapter to assist you in determining the right development and deployment strategies for your services and applications. Not all of them will require high levels of reliability and fault tolerance, with associated reducing in performance. However, some of them undoubtedly will.

Defining Service Configurations


JBossESB 4.5 GA configuration is based on the jbossesb-1.1.0 XSD. This XSD is always the definitive reference for the ESB configuration.

The model has 2 main sections:

  1. <providers>: This part of the model centrally defines all the message <bus> providers used by the message <listener>s, defined within the <services> section of the model.

  2. <services>: This part of the model centrally defines all of the services under the control of a single instance of JBoss ESB. Each <service> instance contains either a “Gateway” or “Message Aware” listener definition.

By far the easiest way to create configurations based on this model is using JBoss Developer Studio, but you can also to use an XSD aware XML Editor such as the XML Editor in the Eclipse IDE. This provides the author with auto-completion features when editing the configuration. Right mouse-click on the file -> Open With -> XML Editor.


The <providers> part of the configuration defines all of the message <provider> instances for a single instance of the ESB. Two types of providers are currently supported:

A Bus Provider (e.g. <jms-provider>) can contain multiple <bus> definitions. The <provider> can also be decorated with <property> instances relating to provider specific properties that are common across all <bus> instances defined on that <provider> (e.g. for JMS - “connection-factory”, “jndi-context-factory” etc). Likewise, each <bus> instance can be decorated with <property> instances specific to that <bus> instance (e.g. for JMS - “destination-type”, “destination-name” etc).

As an example, a provider configuration for JMS would be as follows:

    <provider name="JBossMQ">
	<property name="connection-factory" value="ConnectionFactory" />
	<property name="jndi-URL" value="jnp://localhost:1099" />
	<property name="protocol" value="jms" />
	<property name="jndi-pkg-prefix" value="com.xyz"/> 
	<bus busid="local-jms">
	   <property name="destination-type" value="topic" />
	   <property name="destination-name" value="queue/B" />
	   <property name="message-selector" value="service='Reconciliation'"
	   <property name=”persistent” value=”true”/>

The above example uses the “base” <provider> and <bus> types. This is perfectly legal, but we recommend use of the specialized extensions of these types for creating real configurations, namely <jms-provider> and <jms-bus> for JMS. The most important part of the above configuration is the busid attribute defined on the <bus> instance. This is a required attribute on the <bus> element/type (including all of its specializations - <jms-bus> etc). This attribute is used within the <listener> configurations to refer to the <bus> instance on which the listener receives its messages. More on this later.

    1. Services

The <services> part of the configuration defines each of the Services under the management of this instance of the ESB. It defines them as a series of <service> configurations. A <service> can also be decorated with the following attributes.






The Service Name under which the Service is Registered in the Service Registry.




The Service Category under which the Service is Registered in the Service Registry.




Human readable description of the Service. Stored in the Registry.



Service Attributes (<service>)

A <service> may define a set of <listeners> and a set of <actions>. The configuration model defines a “base” <listener> type, as well as specializations for each of the main supported transports i.e. <jms-listener>, <sql-listener> etc.

The “base” <listener> defines the following attribute. These attribute definitions are inherited by all <listener> extensions. As such they can be set for all of the listeners and gateways supported by JBossESB, such as InVM.






The name of the listener. This attribute is required primarily for logging purposes.




Reference to the busid of the <bus> through which the listener instance receives messages.




The max number of concurrent message processing threads that the listener can have active.




Whether or not the listener instance is a “Gateway” or “Message Aware” Listener. See footnote #5.



Listener Attributes (<listener>)

Listeners can define a set of zero or more <property> elements (just like the <provider> and <bus> elements/types). These are used to define listener specific properties.

  1. For each gateway listener defined in a service, an ESB aware listener (or “native”) listener must also be defined as gateway listeners do not define bidirectional endpoints, but rather “startpoints” into the ESB. From within the ESB you cannot send a message to a Gateway. Also, note that since a gateway is not an endpoint, it does not have an Endpoint Reference (EPR) persisted in the registry.

An example of a <listener> reference to a <bus> can be seen in the following illustration (using “base” types only).

A Service will do little without a list of one or more <actions>. The actions are effectively the “meat” of the Service. <action>s typically contain the logic for processing the payload of the messages received by the service (through it's listeners). Alternatively, it may contain the transformation or routing logic for messages to be consumed by an external Service/entity.

The <action> element/type defines the following attributes.






The name of the action. This attribute is required primarily for logging purposes.




The org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.ActionProcessor implementation class name.




The name of the “process” method that will be reflectively called for message processing.

(Default is the “process” method as defined on the ActionProcessor class).



In a list of <action> instances within an <actions> set, the actions are called (their “process” method is called) in the order in which the <action> instances appear in the <actions> set. The message returned from each <action> is used as the input message to the next <action> in the list.

Like a number of other elements/types in this model, the <action> type can also contain zero or more <property> element instances. The <property> element/type can define a standard name-value-pair, or contain free form content (xsd:any). According to the XSD, this free form content is valid child content for the <property> element/type no matter where it is in the configuration (on any of <provider>, <bus>, <listener> and any of their derivatives). However, it is only on <action> defined <property> instances that this free form child content is used.

As stated in the <action> definition above, actions are implemented through implementing the org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.ActionProcessor class. All implementations of this interface must contain a public constructor of the following form:

	public ActionZ(org.jboss.soa.esb.helpers.ConfigTree configuration);

It is through this constructor supplied ConfigTree instance that all of the action attributes are supplied, including the free form content from the action <property> instances. The free form content is supplied as child content on the ConfigTree instance.

So an example of an <actions> configuration might be as follows:

    <action name="MyAction-1" class="com.acme.MyAction1"/>
    <action name="MyAction-2" class="com.acme.MyAction2">
        <property name=”propA” value=”propAVal” />
    <action name="MyAction-3" class="com.acme.MyAction3">
        <property name=”propB” value=”propBVal” />
        <property name=”propC”>
            <!-- Free form child content... -->

    1. Transport Specific Type Implementations

The JBoss ESB configuration model defines transport specific specializations of the “base” types <provider>, <bus> and <listener> (JMS, SQL etc). This allows us to have stronger validation on the configuration, as well as making configuration easier for those that use an XSD aware XML Editor (e.g. the Eclipse XML Editor). These specializations explicitly define the configuration requirements for each of the transports supported by JBoss ESB out of the box. It is recommended to use these specialized types over the “base” types when creating JBoss ESB configurations, the only alternative being where a new transport is being supported outside an official JBoss ESB release.

The same basic principals that apply when creating configurations from the “base” types also apply when creating configurations from the transport specific alternatives:

  1. Define the provider configuration e.g. <jms-provder>.

  2. Add the bus configurations to the new provider (e.g. <jms-bus>), assigning a unique busid attribute value.

  3. Define your <services> as normal, adding transport specific listener configurations (e.g. <jms-listener> that reference (using busrefid) the new bus configurations you just made e.g. <jms-listener> referencing a <jms-bus>.

The only rule that applies when using these transport specific types is that you cannot cross reference from a listener of one type, to a bus of another type i.e. you can only reference a <jms-bus> from a <jms-listener>. A runtime error will result where cross references are made.

So the transport specific implementations that are in place in this release are:

  1. JMS: <jms-provider>, <jms-bus>, <jms-listener> and <jms-message-filter>: The <jms-message-filter> can be added to either the <jms-bus> or <jms-listener> elements. Where the <jms-provider> and <jms-bus> specify the JMS connection properties, the <jms-message-filter> specifies the actual message QUEUE/TOPIC and selector details.

  2. SQL: <sql-provider>, <sql-bus>, <sql-listener> and <sql-message-filter>: The <sql-message-filter> can be added to either the <sql-bus> or <sql-listener> elements. Where the <sql-provider> and <ftp-bus> specify the JDBC connection properties, the <sql-message-filter> specifies the message/row selection and processing properties.

  3. FTP: <ftp-provider>, <ftp-bus>, <ftp-listener> and <ftp-message-filter>: The <ftp-message-filter> can be added to either the <ftp-bus> or <ftp-listener> elements. Where the <ftp-provider> and <ftp-bus> specify the FTP access properties, the <ftp-message-filter> specifies the message/file selection and processing properties

  4. Hibernate: <hibernate-provider>, <hibernate-bus>, <hibernate-listener> : The <hibernate-message-filter> can be added to either the <hibernate-bus> or <hibernate-listener> selements. Where the <hibernate-provider> specifies File System access properties like the location of the hibernate configuration property, the <hibernate-message-filter> specifies what classnames and events should be intercepted.

  5. File System: <fs-provider>, <fs-bus>, <fs-listener> and <fs-message-filter> The <fs-message-filter> can be added to either the <fs-bus> or <fs-listener> elements. Where the <fs-provider> and <sql-bus> specify the File System access properties, the <fs-message-filter> specifies the message/file selection and processing properties.

  6. Schedule: <schedule-provider>. This is a special type of provider and differs from the bus based providers listed above. See Scheduling for more.

  7. JMS/JCA integration: <jms-jca-provider>: This provider can be used in place of the <jms-provider> to enable delivery of incoming messages using JCA inflow. This introduces a transacted flow to the action pipeline, encompassing actions within a JTA transaction.

As you'll notice, all of the currently implemented transport specific types include an additional type not present in the “base” types, that being <*-message-filter>. This element/type can be added inside either the <*-bus> or <*-listener>. Allowing this type to be specified in both places means you can specify message filtering globally for the bus (for all listeners using that bus), or locally on a listener by listener basis.

  1. In order to list and describe the attributes for each transport specific type, you can use the jbossesb-1.1.0 XSD, which is fully annotated with descriptions of each of the attributes. Using an XSD aware XML Editor such as the Eclipse XML Editor makes working with these types far easier.

JMS Message filter configuration

Property Name




    The type of destination, either QUEUE or TOPIC



    The name of the Queue or Topic



    Allows multiple listeners to register with the same queue/topic, but they will filter on this message selector.



    Indicates if the delivery mode for JMS should be persistent or not. True or false

    Optional. Default is true



    Optional. Default is AUTO_ACKNOWLEDGE


    JMS destination user name. Will be used when creating a connection to the destination.



    JMS destination password. Will be used when creating a connection to the destination.


Example configuration:

<jms-bus busid="quickstartGwChannel">








FTP configuration

Property Name




    Can be a combination of <host:port> of just <host> which will use port 21.



    Username that will be used for the ftp connection.



    Password for the above user


    The ftp directory that is monitored for incoming new files



    The file suffix used to filter files targeted for comsumption by the ESB (note: add the dot, so something like '.esbIn'). This can also be specified as an empty string to specify that all files should be retrieved.



    The file suffix used while the file is being process, so that another thread or process won't pick it up too.

Optional. Defaults to .esbInProcess.


    If true, the file will be deleted after it is processed. Note that

in that case post-directory and post-suffix have no effect.

Optional. Defaults to true.


    The ftp directory to which the file will be moved after it is processed by the ESB

Optional. Defaults to the value of directory above.


    The file suffix which will be added to the file name after it is processed.

Optional. Defaults to .esbDone.


    If true, the file will be deleted if an error occurs during processing. Note that in that case error-directory and error-suffix have no effect.

Optional. Defaults to true.


    The ftp directory to which the file will be moved after when an

error occurs during processing.

Optional. Defaults to the value of directory above.


    The file suffix which will be added to the file name after an error occurs during processing.

Optional. Defaults to .esbError.


    The protocol, can be on of:

  • sftp (SSH File Transfer Protocol)

  • ftps (FTP over SLL)

  • ftp (default).

Optional. Defaults to ftp.


    Indicates that the ftp connection is in passive. Setting this to true means the ftp client will establish two connection to the ftpserver client.

    Optional. Defaults to false, meaning that the client will tell the ftpserver which port the ftpserver should connect to . The ftpserver then estabilshes the connection to the client.


    If true, the ftp server does not permit write operations on files.

Note that in this case the following properties have no effect: work-suffix, post-delete,post-directory, post-suffix, error-delete, error-directory, and error-suffix.

    Optional. Defaults to false. See section “Read-only FTP Listener for more information


The url to a public server certificate for ftps server verification or to a private certificate for sftp client verification. An sftp certificate can be located as a resource embedded within a deployment artifact



    The common name for a certificate for ftps server verification



    The passphrase of the private key for sftp client verification.


    1. FTP Listener configuration

Schedule Listener that polls for remote files based on the configured schedule (scheduleidref). See Service Scheduling.

    1. Read-only FTP Listener

Setting the ftp-provider property “read-only” to true will tell the system that the remote file system does not allow write operations. This is often the case when the ftp server is running on a mainframe computer where permissions are given to a specific file.

The read-only implementation uses JBoss TreeCache to hold a list of the filenames that have been retrieved and only fetch those that have not previously been retrieved. The cache should be configured to use a cacheloader to persist the cache to stable storage.

Please note that there must exist a strategy for removing the filenames from the cache. There might be an archiving process on the mainframe that moves the files to a different location on a regular basis. The removal of filenames from the cache could be done by having a database procedure that removes all filenames from the cache every couple of days. Another strategy would be to specify a TreeCacheListener that upon evicting filenames from the cache also removes them from the cacheloader. The eviction period would then be configurable. This can be configured by setting a property (removeFilesystemStrategy-cacheListener) in the ftp-listener configuration.

    1. Read-only FTP Listener Configuration

Property Name




    Schedule used by the FTP listener


    Override the remote file system strategy with a class that implements: org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.gateway.remotestrategies.RemoteFileSystemStrategy.

    Optional. Defaults to org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.gateway.remotestrategies.ReadOnlyRemoteFileSystemStrategy


    Specifiy a JBoss TreeCache configuration file on the local file system or one that exists on the classpath.

    Optional. Defaults to looking for a file named /ftpfile-cache-config.xml which it expects to find in the root of the classpath


    Specifies an JBoss TreeCacheListener implementation to be used with the TreeCache.

    Optional. Default is no TreeCacheListener.

Example configuration:

<ftp-listener name="FtpGateway"





<property name="remoteFileSystemStrategy-configFile" value="./ftpfile-cache-config.xml"/>

<property name="remoteFileSystemStrategy-cacheListener" value="org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.gateway.remotestrategies.cache.DeleteOnEvictTreeCacheListener"/>


Example snippet from JBoss cache configuration:

<region name="/ftp/cache">

<attribute name="maxNodes">5000</attribute>

<attribute name="timeToLiveSeconds">1000</attribute>

<attribute name="maxAgeSeconds">86400</attribute>


Property Name




    The maximum number of files that will be stored in the cache.

    0 denotes no limit


    Time to idle (in seconds) before the node is swept away.

    0 denotes no limit


    Time an object should exist in TreeCache (in seconds) regardless of idle time before the node is swept away

    0 denotes no limit

The helloworld_ftp_action quickstart demonstrates the readonly configuration. Run 'ant help' in the helloworld_ftp_action quickstart directory for instructions on running the quickstart.

Please refer to the JBoss Cache documentation for more information about the configuration options available (http://labs.jboss.com/jbosscache/docs/index.html).

UDP Gateway

Is a gateway implementation for receiving ESB unaware messages sent using the UDP protocol. The payload will be passed along to the action chain in the default ESB Message object location. Actions can call esbMessage.getBody().get() to retrieve the byte array payload from within their actions.

UDP Gateway configuration

Property Name




    The hostname/ip to listen to.



    The port to listen to.



    A concrete implemenation of org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.gateway.mina.MessageHandler.

    Optional. Default is org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.gateway.mina.DefaultMessageHandler.


    UDPGatewayListener can only act as a gateway.


Example configuration:








    1. Transitioning From The Old Configuration Model

This section is aimed at developers that are familiar with the old JBoss ESB non-XSD based configuration model.

The old configuration model used a free form (non-validatable) XML configuration with ESB components receiving thier configurations via an instance of org.jboss.soa.esb.helpers.ConfigTree. The new configuration model is XSD based, however the underlying component configuration pattern is still via an instance of org.jboss.soa.esb.helpers.ConfigTree. This means that at the moment, the XSD based configurations are mapped/transformed into ConfigTree style configurations.

Developers that were used to using the old model now need to keep the following in mind:

  1. Read all of the docs on the new configuration model. Don't assume you can infer the new configurations based on your knowledge of the old.

  2. The only location where free-form markup is supported in the new configuration is on the <property> element/type. This type is allowed on <provider>, <bus> and <listener> types (and sub-types). However, the only location in which <property> based free form markup is mapped into the ConfigTree configurations is where the <property> exists on an <action>. In this case, the <property> content is mapped into the target ConfigTree <action>. Note however, if you have 1+ <property> elements with free form child content on an <action>, all this content will be concatenated together on the target ConfigTree <action>.

  3. When developing new Listener/Action components, you must ensure that the ConfigTree based configuration these components depend on can be mapped from the new XSD based configurations. An example of this is how in the ConfigTree configuration model, you could decide to supply the configuration to a listener component via attributes on the listener node, or you could decide to do it based on child nodes within the listener configuration – all depending on how you were feeling on the day. This type of free form configuration on <listener> components is not supports on the XSD to ConfigTree mapping i.e. the child content in the above example would not be mapped from the XSD configuration to the ConfigTree style configuration. In fact, the XSD configuration simply would not accept the arbitrary content, unless it was in a <property> and even in that case (on a <listener>), it would simply be ignored by the mapping code.

      1. Configuration

All components within the core receive their configuration parameters as XML. How these parameters are provided to the system is hidden by the org.jboss.soa.esb.parameters.ParamRepositoryFactory:

public abstract class ParamRepositoryFactory
public static ParamRepository getInstance();

This returns implementations of the org.jboss.soa.esb.parameters.ParamRepository interface which allows for different implementations:

public interface ParamRepository
public void add(String name, String value) throws
public String get(String name) throws ParamRepositoryException;
public void remove(String name) throws ParamRepositoryException;

Within this version of the JBossESB, there is only a single implementation, the org.jboss.soa.esb.parameters.ParamFileRepository, which expects to be able to load the parameters from a file. The implementation to use may be overridden using the org.jboss.soa.esb.paramsRepository.class property.

  1. we recommend that you construct your ESB configuration file using Eclipse or some other XML editor. The JBossESB configuration information is supported by an annotated XSD which should help if using a basic editor.

Web Services Support


JBossESB has a number of Webservice based components for exposing and invoking Webservice endpoints (i.e. SOAP onto the bus and SOAP off the bus) :

  1. SOAPProcessor: The SOAPProcessor action allows you to expose JBossWS 2.x and higher Webservice Endpoints through endpoints (listeners) running on the ESB (“SOAP onto the bus”). This allows you to use JBossESB to expose Webservice Endpoints (wrapper Webservices) for services that don't expose a Webservice Interface. JBossWS Webservice Endpoints exposed via this JBossESB action are “ESB Message Aware” and can be used to invoke Webservice Endpoints over any transport channel supported by the ESB.

  2. SOAPClient: The SOAPClient action allows you to make invocations on Webservice endpoints (“SOAP off the bus”).

For more details on these components and how to configure and use them, see the ServicesGuide.

You can also find more information within the wiki pages shipped with the JBossESB documentation.

Out-of-the-box Actions

This section provides a catalog of all Actions that are supplied out-of-the-box with JBoss ESB (“pre-packed”).

Transformers & Converters

Converters/Transformers are a classification of Action Processor responsible for transforming a message payload from to another.

Note that, unless stated otherwise, all of these Actions use the MessagePayloadProxy for getting and setting the message payload (see the Programmers Guide).

    1. ByteArrayToString

Takes a byte[] based message payload and converts it into a java.lang.String object instance.

Input Type





  • encoding”: The binary data encoding on the message byte array. Defaults to “UTF-8” when not specified .

Sample Configuration

<action name="transform" 
    <property name="encoding" value="UTF-8" />

    1. LongToDateConverter

Takes a long based message payload and converts it into a java.util.Date object instance.

Input Type


Output Type






Sample Configuration

<action name="transform" 
    1. ObjectInvoke

Takes the Object bound as the message payload and supplies it to a configured “processor” for processing. The processing result is bound back into the message as the new payload.

Input Type

User Object

Output Type

User Object




  • "class-processor": The runtime class name of the processor class used to process the message payload.

  • "class-method": The name of the method on the processor class used to process the method.

Sample Configuration

<action name="invoke"
    <property name="class-processor"
    <property name="class-method" value="processXXX" />


Takes the Object bound as the message payload and converts it into a Comma Separated Value (CSV) String based on the supplied message object and a comma-separated "bean-properties” list property. (Also see the SmooksAction).

Input Type

User Object

Output Type





  • "bean-properties": List of Object bean property names used to get CSV values for the output CSV String. The Object should support a getter method for each of listed properties.

  • "fail-on-missing-property": Flag indicating whether or not the action should fail if a property is missing from the Object i.e., if the Object does not support a getter method for the property. Default value is “false”.

Sample Configuration

<action name="transform"
    <property name="bean-properties"
    <property name="fail-on-missing-property" 
        value="true" />


Takes the Object bound as the Message payload and converts it into XML using the XStream processor. (Also see the SmooksAction).

Input Type

User Object

Output Type





  • "class-alias": Class alias used in call to XStream.alias(String, Class) prior to serialisation. Defaults to the input Object's class name.

  • "exclude-package": Exclude the package name from the generated XML. Default is "true". Not applicable if a "class-alias" is specified.

  • "aliases": Optional. Specify additional aliases to help XStream to convert the xml elements to Objects

  • "namespaces": Optional. Specify namespaces that should be added to the xml generated by XStream. Each namespace-uri is associated with a local-part which is the element that this namespace should appear on.

  • xstream-mode”: Optional. Specify the XStream mode to use. Possible values are XPATH_RELATIVE_REFERENCS (the default), XPATH_ABSOLUTE_REFERENCS, ID_REFERENCES or NO_REFERENCES.

  • fieldAliases”: Optional Field aliases to be added to Xstream.

  • implicit-collections”: Optional which will be registered with Xstream.

  • converters”: Optional list of converter that will be registered with Xstream.

Sample Config

<action name="transform"

    <property name="class-alias" value="MyAlias" />
    <property name="exclude-package" value="true" />
    <property name="aliases">
        <alias name=”alias1” class=”com.acme.MyXXXClass1/>
        <alias name=”alias2” class=”com.acme.MyXXXClass2/>
        <alias name=”xyz” class=”com.acme.XyzValueObject”/>
        <alias name=”x” class=”com.acme.XValueObject”/>

<property name="namespaces">

        <namespace namespace-uri=”http://www.xyz.com” local-part=”xyz”/>
        <namespace namespace-uri=”http://www.xyz.com/x” local-part=”x”/>
    <property name="fieldAliases">
        <field-alias alias=”aliasName” definedIn=”className” fieldName=”fieldName”/>
        <field-alias alias=”aliasName” definedIn=”className” fieldName=”fieldName”/>
    <property name="implicit-collections">
        <implicit-colletion class=”className” fieldName=”fieldName” fieldType=”fieldType” itemType=”itemType”/>
    <property name="converters">
        <converter class=”className” fieldName=”fieldName” fieldType=”fieldType”/>
    1. XStreamToObject

Takes the XML bound as the Message payload and converts it into an Object using the XStream processor. (Also see the SmooksAction).

Input Type


Output Type

User Object (specified by “incoming-type” property)




  • "class-alias": Class alias used during serialisation. Defaults to the input Object's class name.

  • "exclude-package": Flag indicating whether or not the XML includes a package name.

  • "incoming-type": Class type.

  • "root-node": Optional. Specify a different root node then the actual root node in the XML. Takes an XPath expression.

  • "aliases": Optional. Specify additional aliases to help Xstream to convert the xml elements to Objects

  • "attribute-aliases": Optional. Specify additional attribute aliases to help Xstream to convert the xml attributes to Objects

  • fieldAliases”: Optional Field aliases to be added to Xstream.

  • implicit-collections”: Optional which will be registered with Xstream.

  • "converters": Optional. Specify converters to help Xstream to convert the xml elements and attributes to Objects. For more information about converters see http://xstream.codehaus.org/converters.html

Sample Config

<action name="transform"

    <property name="class-alias" value="MyAlias" />
    <property name="exclude-package" value="true" />
    <property name="incoming-type" value="com.acme.MyXXXClass" />
    <property name="root-node" value="/rootNode/MyAlias" />
    <property name="aliases">
        <alias name=”alias1” class=”com.acme.MyXXXClass1/>
        <alias name=”alias2” class=”com.acme.MyXXXClass2/>

<property name="attribute-aliases">

        <attribute-alias name=”alias1” class=”com.acme.MyXXXClass1”/>
        <attribute-alias name=”alias2” class=”com.acme.MyXXXClass2”/>
    <property name="fieldAliases">
        <field-alias alias=”aliasName” definedIn=”className” fieldName=”fieldName”/>
        <field-alias alias=”aliasName” definedIn=”className” fieldName=”fieldName”/>
    <property name="implicit-collections">
        <implicit-colletion class=”className” fieldName=”fieldName” fieldType=”fieldType” itemType=”itemType”/>
    <property name="converters">
        <converter class=”className” fieldName=”fieldName” fieldType=”fieldType”/>


NOTE: Check out the SmooksAction for a more general purpose (and more flexible) Smooks action class. The SmooksTransformer action will be deprecated in a future release.

Message Transformation on JBossESB is supported by the SmooksTransformer component. This is an ESB Action component that allows the Smooks Data Transformation/Processing Framework to be plugged into an ESB Action Processing Pipeline.

A wide range of source (XML, CSV, EDI etc.) and target (XML, Java, CSV, EDI etc.) data formats are supported by the SmooksTransformer component. A wide range of Transformation Technologies are also supported, all within a single framework. See Smooks for more details.




Smooks Resource Configuration:

  • "resource-config": The Smooks resource configuration file.

Message Profile Properties (Optional):

  • "from": Message Exchange Participant name. Message Producer.

  • "from-type": Message type/format produced by the “from” message exchange participant.

  • "to": Message Exchange Participant name. Message Consumer.

  • "to-type": Message type/format consumed by the “to” message exchange participant.

Note: All the above properties can be overridden by supplying them as properties to the message (Message.Properties).

Sample Configuration

Default Input/Output:
<action name="transform" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.converters.SmooksTransformer">
    <property name="resource-config" value="/smooks/config-01.xml" />

Named Input/Output:
<action name="transform" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.converters.SmooksTransformer">
    <property name="resource-config" value="/smooks/config-01.xml" />
<property name="get-payload-location" value="get-order-params" />
<property name="set-payload-location" value="get-order-response" /> </action> Using Message Profiles: <action name="transform" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.converters.SmooksTransformer"> <property name="resource-config" value="/smooks/config-01.xml" /> <property name="from" value="DVDStore:OrderDispatchService" /> <property name="from-type" value="text/xml:fullFillOrder" /> <property name="to" value="DVDWarehouse_1:OrderHandlingService" /> <property name="to-type" value="text/xml:shipOrder" /> </action>

Java Objects are bound to the Message.Body under their “beanId”. For more on this, please refer to the MessageTransformation document, or the WIKI.


The SmooksAction class (org.jboss.soa.esb.smooks.SmooksAction) is the second generation ESB action class for executing Smooks “processes” (it can do more than just transform messages – splitting etc). The SmooksTransformer action will be deprecated (and eventually removed) in a future release of the ESB.

The SmooksAction class can process (using Smooks PayloadProcessor) a wider range of ESB Message payloads e.g. Strings, byte arrays, InputStreams, Readers, POJOs and more (see the PayloadProcessor docs). As such, it can perform a wide range of transformations including Java to Java transforms. It can also perform other types of operations on a Source messages stream, including content based payload Splitting and Routing (not ESB Message routing). The SmooksAction enables the full range of Smooks capabilities from within JBoss ESB.

The Smooks User Guide (and other documentation) is available on the Smooks website. Also, check out the Smooks Tutorials.

SmooksAction Configuration

The following illustrates the basic SmooksAction configuration:

<action name="transform" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.smooks.SmooksAction">
    <property name="smooksConfig" value="/smooks/order-to-java.xml" />

The optional configuration properties are:





Message Body location containing the message payload.

Default Payload Location


Message Body location where result payload is to be placed.

Default Payload Location


Exclude non Serializable Objects when mapping the contents of the Smooks ExecutionContext back onto the ESB Message.



The type of Result to be set as the result Message payload.

See Specifying the Result Type for more details.



Note: Only relevant when resultType=JAVA

The Smooks bean context beanId to be mapped as the result when the resultType is "JAVA". If not specified, the whole bean context bean Map is mapped as the JAVA result.


The path and file name for generating a Smooks Execution Report. This is a development aid i.e. not to be used in production.

Message Input Payload

The SmooksAction uses the ESB MessagePayloadProxy class for getting and setting the message payload on the ESB Message. Therefore, unless otherwise configured via the “get-payload-location” and “set-payload-location” action properties, the SmooksAction gets and sets the Message payload on the default message location (i.e. using Message.getBody().get() and Message.getBody().set(Object)).

As stated above, the SmooksAction automatically supports a wide range of Message payload types (see the PayloadProcessor). This means that the SmooksAction itself can handle most payload types without requiring “fixup” actions before it in the action chain.

XML, EDI, CSV etc Input Payloads

To process these message types using the SmooksAction, simply supply the Source message as a:

  1. String,

  2. InputStream,

  3. Reader, or

  4. byte array

Apart from that, you just need to perform the standard Smooks configurations (in the Smooks config, not the ESB config) for processing the message type in question e.g. configure a parser if it's not an XML Source (e.g. EDI, CSV etc). See the Smooks User Guide.

Java Input Payload

If the supplied Message payload is not one of type String, InputStream, Reader or byte[], the SmooksAction processes the payload as a JavaSource, allowing you to perform Java to XML, Java to Java etc transforms.

Specifying the Result Type

Because the Smooks Action can produce a number of different Result types, you need to be able to specify which type of Result you want. This effects the result that's bound back into the ESB Message payload location.

By default the ResultType is “STRING”, but can also be “BYTES”, “JAVA” or “NORESULT” by setting the “resultType” configuration property.

Specifying a resultType of “JAVA” allows you to select one or more Java Objects from the Smooks ExecutionContext (specifically, the bean context). The javaResultBeanId configuration property complements the resultType property by allowing you to specify a specific bean to be bound from the bean context to the ESB Message payload location. The following is an example that binds the “order” bean from the Smooks bean context onto the ESB Message as the Message payload.

<action name="transform" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.smooks.SmooksAction">
    <property name="smooksConfig" value="/smooks/order-to-java.xml" />
    <property name="resultType" value="JAVA" />
    <property name="javaResultBeanId" value="order" />


This is used to interact with the MessageStore, where necessary.

Input Type


Output Type

The input Message




  • classification: used to classify where the Message will be stored. If the Message Property org.jboss.soa.esb.messagestore.classification is defined on the Message then that will be used instead. Otherwise a default may be provided at instantiation time.

  • message-store-class: the implementation of the MessageStore.

  • terminal: if the Action is to be used to terminate a pipeline then this should be true (the default). If not, then set this to false and the input message will be returned from processing.

Sample Configuration

<action name="PersistAction" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.MessagePersister" >

<property name="classification" value="test"/>

<property name="message-store-class" value="org.jboss.internal.soa.esb.persistence.format.db.DBMessageStoreImpl"/>


    1. Business Process Management

    1. jBPM - BpmProcessor

JBossESB can make calls into jBPM using the BpmProcessor action. Please also read the “jBPM Integration” chapter in the ServicesGuide to learn how to call JBossESB from jBPM. The BpmProcessor action uses the jBPM command API to make calls into jBPM. The following jBPM commands have been implemented:




Input Type

org.jboss.soa.esb.message.Message generated by AbstractCommandVehicle.toCommandMessage()

Output Type

Message – same as the input message




  • command - required property. Needs to be one of: NewProcessInstance-Command, StartProcessInstanceCommand, or Cancel-ProcessInstanceCommand

  • processdefinition – required property for the New- and Start-ProcessInstanceCommands if the process-definition-id property is not used. The value of this property should reference a process definition that is already deployed to jBPM and of which you want to create a new instance. This property does not apply to the Signal- and CancelProcessInstance-Commands.

  • process-definition-id – required property for the New- and Start-ProcessInstanceCommands if the processdefinition property is not used. The value of this property should reference a processdefintion id in jBPM of which you want to create a new instance. This property does not apply to the Signal- and CancelProcessInstanceCommands.

  • actor – optional property to specify the jBPM actor id, which applies to the New- and StartProcessInstanceCommands only.


  • key - optional property to specify the value of the jBPM key. For example one can pass a unique invoice id as the value for this key. On the jBPM side this key is as the “business” key id field. The key is a string based business key property on the process instance. The combination of business key + process definition must be unique if a business key is supplied. The key value can hold an MVEL expression to extract the desired value from the EsbMessage. For example if you have a named parameter called “businessKey” in the body of your message you would use “body.businessKey”. Note that this property is used for the New- and StartProcessInstanceCommands only.

  • transition-name optional property. This property only applies to the StartProcessInstance- and Signal Commands, and is of use only if there are more then one transition out of the current node. If this property is not specified the default transition out of the node is taken. The default transition is the first transition in the list of transition defined for that node in the jBPM processdefinition.xml.

  • esbToBpmVars - optional property for the New- and StartProcessInstanceCommands and the SignalCommand. This property defines a list of variables that need to be extracted from the EsbMessage and set into jBPM context for the particular process instance. The list consists of mapping elements. Each mapping element can have the following attributes:

  • esb – required attribute which can contain an MVEL expression to extract a value anywhere from the EsbMessage.

  • bpm – optional attribute containing the name which be used on the jBPM side. If omitted the esb name is used.

  • default – optional attribute which can hold a default value if the esb MVEL expression does not find a value set in the EsbMessage.

Message variables

Finally some variables can be set on the body of the EsbMessage:

  • jbpmProcessInstId – required parameter which applies to the Cancel-ProcessInstanceCommand only. It is up to the user make sure this value is set as a named parameter on the EsbMessage body.

  • jbpmTokenId or jbpmProcessInstId – either one is a required parameter and applies to the SignalCommand only. The SignalCommand first looks for the value of the token id to which it will send a signal. If this is not set it will try to obtain the process instance id and get the root token It is up to the user make sure either the jbpmTokenId or the jbpmProcessInstId is set on the EsbMessage body.

Sample Configuration

<action name="create_new_process_instance" 
    <property name="command" value="StartProcessInstanceCommand" />
    <property name="process-definition-name"
    <property name="actor" value="FrankSinatra"/>                                                 
    <property name="esbToBpmVars">
    <!-- esb-name maps to getBody().get("eVar1") -->
        <mapping esb="eVar1" bpm="counter" default="45" />
        <mapping esb="BODY_CONTENT" bpm="theBody" />


Scripting Action Processors support definition of action processing logic via Scripting languages.

    1. GroovyActionProcessor

Executes a Groovy action processing script, receiving the message, payloadProxy, action configuration and logger as variable input.

Script Variable Bindings

  • message”: The message.

  • payloadProxy”: Utility for message payload (MessagePayloadProxy).

  • config”: The action configuration (ConfigTree).

  • logger”: The GroovyActionProcessor's static Log4J Logger (Logger).




  • script”: Path (on classpath) to Groovy script.

  • supportMessageBasedScripting”: Allow scripts within the message.

  • cacheScript”: Should the script be cached. Default “true”.

Sample Configuration

<action name="process"
   <property name="script" value="/scripts/myscript.groovy"/>
    1. ScriptingAction

Executes a script using the Bean Scripting Framework (BSF), receiving the message, payloadProxy, action configuration and logger as variable input. Some notes:

  1. JBoss ESB 4.4 contains BSF 2.3.0, which has less language support than BSF 2.4.0 (for example: no Groovy, and non-functioning Rhino). A future version will contain BSF 2.4.0, which will support Groovy and Rhino.

  2. BSF does not provide an API to precompile, cache and reuse scripts. Because of this, each execution of the ScriptingAction will go through the compile step again. Please keep this in mind while evaluating your performance requirements.

  3. When including BeanShell scripts in your application, it is advised to use a .beanshell extension instead of .bsh, otherwise the JBoss BSHDeployer might pick it up.

Script Variable Bindings

  • message”: The message.

  • payloadProxy”: Utility for message payload (MessagePayloadProxy).

  • config”: The action configuration (ConfigTree).

  • logger”: The ScriptingAction's static Log4J Logger (Logger).




  • script”: Path (on classpath) to script.

  • supportMessageBasedScripting”: Allow scripts within the message.

  • language”: Optional script language (overrides extension deduction).

Sample Configuration

<action name="process"
   <property name="script" value="/scripts/myscript.beanshell"/>


Actions defined within the ESB Services.

    1. EJBProcessor

Takes an input Message and uses the contents to invoke a Stateless Session Bean. This action support EJB2.x and EJB3.x.

Input Type

EJB method name and parameters.

Output Type

EJB specific Object.




  • "ejb3": if this is a call to an EJB3.x Session Bean

  • "ejb-name": The identity of the EJB. Optional when ejb3 is true

  • "jndi-name": Relevant JNDI lookup.

  • initial-context-factory: JNDI lookup mechanism.

  • provider-url: Relevant provider.

  • method: EJB method name to call.

  • ejb-params: list of parameters to use when calling the method and where in the input Message they reside.

  • esb-out-var: the location of the output (default value is DEFAULT_EJB_OUT).

Sample Configuration EJB2.x

<action name="EJBTest" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.EJBProcessor">

<property name="ejb-name" value="MyBean" />

<property name="jndi-name" value="ejb/MyBean" />

<property name="initial-context-factory" value="org.jnp.interfaces.NamingContextFactory" />

<property name="provider-url" value="localhost:1099" />

<property name="method" value="login" />

<!-- Optional output location, defaults to "DEFAULT_EJB_OUT"

<property name="esb-out-var" value="MY_OUT_LOCATION"/> -->

<property name="ejb-params">

<!-- arguments of the operation and where to find them in the message -->

<arg0 type="java.lang.String">username</arg0>

<arg1 type="java.lang.String">password</arg1>



Sample Configuration EJB3.x

action name="EJBTest" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.EJBProcessor">

<property name="ejb3" value="true" />

<property name="jndi-name" value="ejb/MyBean" />

<property name="initial-context-factory" value="org.jnp.interfaces.NamingContextFactory" />

<property name="provider-url" value="localhost:1099" />

<property name="method" value="login" />

<!-- Optional output location, defaults to "DEFAULT_EJB_OUT"

<property name="esb-out-var" value="MY_OUT_LOCATION"/> -->

<property name="ejb-params">

<!-- arguments of the operation and where to find them in the message -->

<arg0 type="java.lang.String">username</arg0>

<arg1 type="java.lang.String">password</arg1>




Routing Actions support conditional routing of messages between two or more message exchange participants.

    1. Aggregator

Message aggregation action. An implementation of the Aggregator Enterprise Integration Pattern.




  • timeoutInMillies”: OPTIONAL, timeout time in milliseconds before the aggregation process times out.

Sample Configuration

<action class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.Aggregator"
    <property name="timeoutInMillies" value="60000"/>

This action relies on all messages having the correct correlation data. This data is set on the message as a property called “aggregatorTag” (Message.Properties). See the ContentBasedRouter and StaticRouter actions.

The data has the following format:

[UUID] “:” [message-number] “:” [message-count]

If all the messages have been received by the aggregator, it returns a new Message containing all the messages as part of the Message.Attachment list (unnamed), otherwise the action returns null.

    1. EchoRouter

Simply echos the incoming message payload to the info log stream and returns the input Message from the process method

    1. HttpRouter

Currently there are two HttpRouter actions in the code base. One that uses JBoss Remoting to perform the HTTP invocation and one that uses Apache Commons HttpClient. This section will discribe both. Please note that the JBoss Remoting HttpRouter is now deprecated to avoid confusion that having two may cause.

JBoss Remoting HttpRouter (Deprecated)

This instance will forward the incoming message to a URL for further processing.




  • “routeUrl” the endpoint to forward the message. If not set then localhost:5400 will be used.

Apache Commons HttpRouter

This action allows invocation of external (ESB unaware) Http endpoints from an ESB action pipeline. This action uses Apache Commons HttpClient under the covers.




  • “endpointUrl” the endpoint to forward the message. Required.

    • “http-client-property” Optional. The HttpRouter uses the HttpClientFactory to create and configure the HttpClient instance. You can specify the configuration of the factory by using the file property which will point to a properties file on the local file system, classpath or URI based. See example below to see how this is done. For more information about the factory properties please refer to: http://www.jboss.org/community/docs/DOC-9969

  • “method” Currently only supports GET and POST. Required.

  • “responseType” Specifies in what form the response should be sent back. Either STRING(default) of BYTES.

  • “headers” To be added to the request. Supports multiple <header name=”blah” value=”blahvalue”/> elements. Optional.

  • “http-client-property” The HttpRouter uses the HttpClientFactory to create and configure the HttpClient instance. You can specify the configuration of the factory by

Sample Configuration

<action name="httprouter"  class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.routing.http.HttpRouter">
 <property name="endpointUrl"value="http://host:80/blah">
    <http-client-property name="file" value="/ht.props"/>
 <property name="method" value="GET"/>
 <property name="responseType" value="STRING"/>
 <property name="headers">
    <header name="blah" value="blahval" ></header>
    1. JMSRouter

Routes the incoming message on to JMS.




  • unwrap”: true will extract the message payload from the Message object before sending. false (the default) will send the serialized Message object.

  • jndi-context-factory”: the JNDI context factory to use. The default is “org.jnp.interfaces.NamingContextFactory”.

  • jndi-URL”: the JNDI URL to use. The default is

  • jndi-pkg-prefix”: the JNDI naming package prefixes to use. The default is org.jboss.naming:org.jnp.interfaces

  • connection-factory”: the name of the ConnectionFactory to use. Default is “ConnectionFactory”.

  • persistent”: the JMS DeliveryMody, true (default) or false.

  • priority”: the JMS priority to be used. Default is javax.jms.Message.DEFAULT_PRIORITY.

  • time-to-live”: the JMS Time-To-Live to be used. The default is javax.jms.Message.DEFAULT_TIME_TO_LIVE.

  • security-principal': the security principal to use when creating the JMS connection.

  • security-credentials”: the security credentials to use when creating the JMS connection.

  • property-strategy”: the implementation of the JMSPropertiesSetter interface, if overriding the default.

  • message-prop”: properties to be set on the message are prefixed with “message-prop'”.

    1. ContentBasedRouter

Content (plus rules) based message routing action.




  • ruleSet”: JBoss Rules ruleset.

  • ruleLanguage”: CBR evaluation Domain Specific Language (DSL) file.

  • ruleReload”: Flag indicating whether or not the rules file should be reloaded each time. Default is “false”.

  • destinations”: Container property for the <route-to> configurations.

  • <route-to destination-name="express" service-category="ExpressShipping" service-name="ExpressShippingService"/>

“process” methods

  • process”: Do not append aggregation data to the message.

  • split”: Append aggregation data to the message.

See the Aggregator action.

Sample Configuration

<action process=”split” name="ContentBasedRouter” 
    <property name="ruleSet" value="MyESBRules-XPath.drl"/>
    <property name="ruleLanguage" value="XPathLanguage.dsl"/>
    <property name="ruleReload" value="true"/>
    <property name="destinations">
        <route-to destination-name="express" 
        <route-to destination-name="normal"  

See the “What is Content-Based Routing” chapter in the ServicesGuide for more details on Content Based Routing.

    1. StaticRouter

Static message routing action. This is basically a simplified version of the Content Based Router, except it does not support content based routing rules.




  • destinations”: Container property for the <route-to> configurations.

  • <route-to destination-name="express" service-category="ExpressShipping" service-name="ExpressShippingService"/>

“process” methods

  • process”: Don't append aggregation data to message.

  • split”: Append aggregation data to message.

See the Aggregator action.

Sample Configuration

<action name="routeAction” 
    <property name="destinations">
        <route-to service-category="ExpressShipping" 
        <route-to service-category="NormalShipping"  
    1. StaticWiretap

The StaticWiretap action differs from the StaticRouter in that the StaticWiretap “listens in” on the action chain and allows actions below it to be executed, while the StaticRouter action terminates the action chain at the point it is used. A StaticRouter should therefore be the last action in a chain.




  • destinations”: Container property for the <route-to> configurations.

  • <route-to destination-name="express" service-category="ExpressShipping" service-name="ExpressShippingService"/>

“process” methods

  • process”: Don't append aggregation data to message.

See the Aggregator action.

Sample Configuration

<action name="routeAction” 
    <property name="destinations">
        <route-to service-category="ExpressShipping" 
        <route-to service-category="NormalShipping"  


Sends a notification to a list of notification targets specified in configuration, based on the result of action pipeline processing.

The action pipeline works in two stages, normal processing followed by outcome processing. In the first stage, the pipeline calls the process method(s) on each action (by default it is called process) in sequence until the end of the pipeline has been reached or an error occurs. At this point the pipeline reverses (the second stage) and calls the outcome method on each preceding action (by default it is processException or processSuccess). It starts with the current action (the final one on success or the one which raised the exception) and travels backwards until it has reached the start of the pipeline. The Notifier is an action which does no processing of the message during the first stage (it is a no-op) but sends the specified notifications during the second stage.

The Notifier class configuration is used to define NotificationList elements, which can be used to specify a list of NotificationTargets. A NotificationList of type “ok” specifies targets which should receive notification upon successful action pipeline processsing; a NotificationList of type “err” specifies targets to receive notifications upon exceptional action pipeline processing, according to the action pipeline processing semantics mentioned earlier. Both “err” and “ok” are case insensitive.

The notification sent to the NotificationTarget is target-specific, but essentially consists of a copy of the ESB message undergoing action pipeline processing. A list of notification target types and their parameters appears at the end of this section.

If you wish the ability to notify of success or failure at each step of the action processing pipeline, use the “okMethod” and “exceptionMethod” attributes in each <action> element instead of having an <action> that uses the Notifier class.




NotificationList subtree indicating targets

Sample Configuration

<action class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.Notifier" okMethod="notifyOK">

<property name="destinations">

<NotificationList type="OK">

<target class="NotifyConsole" />

<target class="NotifyFiles" >

<file name=”@results.dir@/goodresult.log” />



<NotificationList type="err">

<target class="NotifyConsole" />

<target class="NotifyFiles" >

<file name=”@results.dir@/badresult.log” />





Notifications can be sent to targets of various types. The table below provides a list of the NotificationTarget types and their parameters.




Performs a notification by printing out the contents of the ESB message on the console.





Child Attributes


Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifyConsole" />




Performs a notification by writing the contents of the ESB message to a specified set of files.





Child Attributes

  • append – if value is true, append the notification to an existing file

  • URI – any valid URI specifying a file

Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifyFiles" >

<file append=”true” URI=”anyValidURI”/>

<file URI=”anotherValidURI”/>





Performs a notification by inserting a record into an existing

database table. The database record contains the ESB message contents and, optionally, other values specified using nested <column> elements.


  • driver-class

  • connection-url

  • user-name

  • password

  • table – table in which notification record is stored

  • dataColumn – name of table column in which ESB message contents are stored



Child Attributes

  • name – name of table column in which to store additional value

  • value – value to be stored

Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifySQLTable"







<column name=”aColumnlName” value=”aColumnValue”/>





Performs a notification by creating a file containing the ESB message content and transferring it via FTP to a remote file system.





Child Attributes

  • URL – a valid FTP URL

  • filename – the name of the file to contain the ESB message content on the remote system

Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifyFTP" >

<ftp URL=”ftp://username:pwd@server.com/remote/dir

filename=”someFile.txt” />





Performs a notification by translating the ESB message (including its attached properties) into a JMS message and sending the JMS message to a list of Queues. Additional properties may be attached using the <messageProp> element.





Child Attributes

  • jndiName – the JNDI name of the Queue

  • jndi-URL – the JNDI provider URL (optional)

  • jndi-context-factory – the JNDI initial context factory (optional)

  • jndi-pkg-prefix – the JNDI package prefixes (optional)

  • connection-factory – the JNDI name of the JMS connection factory (by default, “ConnectionFactory”)



Child Attributes

  • name – name of the new property to be added

  • value – value of the new property

Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifyQueues" >

<messageProp name=”aNewProperty” value=”theValue”/>

<queue jndiName=”queue/quickstarts_notifications_queue” />





Performs a notification by translating the ESB message (including its attached properties) into a JMS message and publishing the JMS message to a list of Topics. Additional properties may be attached using the <messageProp> element.





Child Attributes

  • jndiName – the JNDI name of the Queue

  • jndi-URL – the JNDI provider URL (optional)

  • jndi-context-factory – the JNDI initial context factory (optional)

  • jndi-pkg-prefix – the JNDI package prefixes (optional)

  • connection-factory – the JNDI name of the JMS connection factory (by default, “ConnectionFactory”)



Child Attributes

  • name – name of the new property to be added

  • value – value of the new property

Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifyTopics" >

<messageProp name=”aNewProperty” value=”theValue”/>

<queue jndiName=”topic/quickstarts_notifications_topic” />





Performs a notification by sending an email containing the ESB message content and, optionally, any file attachments.


  • from – email address (javax.email.InternetAddress)

  • sendTo – comma-separated list of email addresses

  • ccTo – comma-separated list of email addresses (optional)

  • subject – email subject

  • message – a string to be prepended to the ESB message contents which make up the e-mail message (optional)

  • msgAttachmentName - filename of an attachment containing the message payload (optional). If not specified the message payload will be included in the message body.


Attachment (optional)

Child Text

the name of the file to be attached

Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifyEmail"









Performs a notification by creating a file containing the ESB message content and transferring it via FTP to a remote file system.





Child Attributes

  • URL – a valid FTP URL

  • filename – the name of the file to contain the ESB message content on the remote system

Sample Configuration

<target class="NotifyFTP" >

<ftp URL=”ftp://username:pwd@server.com/remote/dir

filename=”someFile.txt” />



    1. SOAPProcessor

JBoss Webservices SOAP Processor.

This action supports invocation of a JBossWS hosted webservice endpoint through any JBossESB hosted listener. This means the ESB can be used to expose Webservice endpoints for Services that don't already expose a Webservice endpoint. You can do this by writing a thin Service Wrapper Webservice (e.g. a JSR 181 implementation) that wraps calls to the target Service (that doesn't have a Webservice endpoint), exposing that Service via endpoints (listeners) running on the ESB. This also means that these Services are invocable over any transport channel supported by the ESB (http, ftp, jms etc.).

      1. Dependencies

  1. JBoss Application Server 4.2.2.GA.

  2. The soap.esb Service. This is available in the lib folder of the distribution.

      1. "ESB Message Aware" Webservice Endpoints

Note that Webservice endpoints exposed via this action have direct access to the current JBossESB Message instance used to invoke this action's process(Message) method. It can access the current Message instance via the SOAPProcessor.getMessage() method and can change the Message instance via the SOAPProcessor.setMessage(Message) method. This means that Webservice endpoints exposed via this action are "ESB Message Aware".

      1. Webservice Endpoint Deployment

Any JBossWS Webservice endpoint can be exposed via ESB listeners using this action. That includes endpoints that are deployed from inside (i.e. the Webservice .war is bundled inside the .esb) and outside (e.g. standalone Webservice .war deployments, Webservice .war deployments bundled inside a .ear) a .esb deployment. This however means that this action can only be used when your .esb deployment is installed on the JBoss Application Server i.e. It is not supported on the JBossESB Server.

      1. Endpoint Publishing

See the “Contract Publishing” section of the Administration Guide.

    1. SOAPClient

The SOAPClient action uses the Wise Client Service to generate a JAXWS client class and call the target service.

Example configuration:

<action name="soap-wise-client-action"                        	class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.soap.wise.SOAPClient">
    <property name="wsdl" value="http://host:8080/OrderManagement?wsdl"/>
    <property name="SOAPAction" value="http://host/OrderMgmt/SalesOrder"/>

Optional Properties

Property Name



The WSDL to be used.


The name of the operation as specified in the webservice WSDL.


The endpoint operation, now superceded by operationName.


The EndPoint invoked. Webservices can have multiple endpoint. If it's not specified the first specified in wsdl will be used.


Specifies a smooks config file to define the java-to-java mapping defined for the request.


Specifies a smooks config file to define the java-to-java mapping defined for the response


A symbolic service name used by wise to cache object generation and/or use already generated object. If it isn't provided wise uses the servlet name of wsdl.


Username used if the webservice is protected by BASIC Authentication HTTP.


Password used if the webservice is protected by BASIC Authentication HTTP.


It's often necessary to be able to transform the SOAP request or response, especially in header. This may be to simply add some standard SOAP handlers. Wise support JAXWS Soap Handler, both custom or a predefined one based on smooks.

Transformation of the SOAP request (before sending) is supported by configuring the SOAPClient action with a Smooks transformation configuration property.


It's also possible to provide a set of custom standard JAXWS Soap Handler. The parameter accept a list of classes implementing SoapHandler interface. Classes have to provide full qualified name and be separated by semi-columns.


It's useful for debug purpose to view soap Message sent and response received. Wise achieve this goal using a JAX-WS handler printing all messages exchanged on System.out. Boolean value.

SOAP Operation Parameters

The SOAP operation parameters are supplied in one of 2 ways:

The parameter Map itself can also be populated in one of 2 ways:

  1. With a set of Objects of any type. In this case a Smooks config has to be specified in action attribute SmooksRequestMapper and Smooks is used to make the java-to-java conversion

  2. With a set of String based key-value pairs(<String, Object>), where the key is the name of the SOAP parameter as specified in wsdls (or in generated class) to be populated with the key's value. SOAP Response Message Consumption

The SOAP response object instance can be is attached to the ESB Message instance in one of the following ways:

The response object instance can also be populated (from the SOAP response) in one of 2 ways:

  1. With a set of Objects of any type. In this case a smooks config have to be specified in action attribute SmooksResponseMapper and smooks is used to make the java-to-java conversion

  2. With a set of String based key-value pairs(<String, Object>), where the key is the name of the SOAP answer as specified in wsdls (or in generated class) to be populated with the key's value. JAX-WS Handler for the SOAP Request/Response

For examples of using the SOAPClient please refer to the following quickstarts:

More information about Wise can be found on their website.

        1. JAXB Annotation Introductions

The native JBossWS SOAP stack uses JAXB to bind to and from SOAP. This means that an unannotated typeset cannot be used to build a JBossWS endpoint. To overcome this we provide a JBossESB and JBossWS feature called "JAXB Annotation Introductions" which basically means you can define an XML configuration to "Introduce" the JAXB Annotations. For details on how to enable this feature in JBossWS 2.0.0, see the Appendix.

This XML configuration must be packaged in a file called “jaxb-intros.xml” in the “META-INF” directory of the endpoint deployment.

For details on how to write a JAXB Annotation Introductions configuration, see the Appendix.

      1. Action Configuration

The <action ... /> configuration for this action is very straightforward. The action requires only one mandatory property value, which is the "jbossws-endpoint" property. This property names the JBossWS endpoint that the SOAPProcessor is exposing (invoking).

<action name="JBossWSAdapter" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.soap.SOAPAction">

<property name="jbossws-endpoint" value="ABI_OrderManager" />

<property name="rewrite-endpoint-url" value="true" />


The optional "rewrite-endpoint-url" property is there to support load balancing on HTTP endpoints, in which case the Webservice endpoint container will have been configured to set the HTTP(S) endpoint address in the WSDL to that of the Load Balancer. The "rewrite-endpoint-url" property can be used to turn off HTTP endpoint address rewriting in situations such as this. It has no effect for non-HTTP protocols.

      1. Quickstarts

A number of quickstarts demonstrating how to use this action are available in the JBossESB distribution (samples/quickstarts). See the "webservice_bpel" quickstart.

    1. SOAPClient

SOAP Client action processor.

Uses the soapUI Client Service to construct and populate a message for the target service. This action then routes that message to that service.

      1. Endpoint Operation Specification

Specifying the endpoint operation is a straightforward task. Simply specify the "wsdl" and "operation" properties on the SOAPClient action as follows:

<action name="soapui-client-action" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.soap.SOAPClient">

<property name="wsdl" value="http://localhost:18080/acme/services/RetailerCallback?wsdl"/>

<property name="operation" value="SendSalesOrderNotification"/>


      1. SOAP Request Message Construction

The SOAP operation parameters are supplied in one of 2 ways:

  1. As a Map instance set on the default body location (Message.getBody().add(Map))

  2. As a Map instance set on in a named body location (Message.getBody().add(String, Map)), where the name of that body location is specified as the value of the "get-payload-location" action property.

The parameter Map itself can also be populated in one of 2 ways:

  1. Option 1: With a set of Objects that are accessed (for SOAP message parameters) using the OGNL framework. More on the use of OGNL below.

  2. Option 2: With a set of String based key-value pairs(<String, Object>), where the key is an OGNL expression identifying the SOAP parameter to be populated with the key's value. More on the use of OGNL below.

As stated above, OGNL is the mechanism we use for selecting the SOAP parameter values to be injected into the SOAP message from the supplied parameter Map. The OGNL expression for a specific parameter within the SOAP message depends on the position of that parameter within the SOAP body. In the following message:

<soapenv:Envelope xmlns:soapenv="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"











the OGNL expression representing the customerNumber parameter is "customerOrder.header.customerNumber".

Once the OGNL expression has been calculated for a parameter, this class will check the supplied parameter map for an Object keyed off the full OGNL expression (Option 1 above). If no such parameter Object is present on the map, this class will then attempt to load the parameter by supplying the map and OGNL expression instances to the OGNL toolkit (Option 2 above). If this doesn't yield a value, this parameter location within the SOAP message will remain blank.

Taking the sample message above and using the "Option 1" approach to populating the "customerNumber" requires an object instance (e.g. an "Order" object instance) to be set on the parameters map under the key "customerOrder". The "customerOrder" object instance needs to contain a "header" property (e.g. a "Header" object instance). The object instance behind the "header" property (e.g. a "Header" object instance) should have a "customerNumber" property.

OGNL expressions associated with Collections are constructed in a slightly different way. This is easiest explained through an example:

<soapenv:Envelope xmlns:soapenv="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/"









<cus:description>Flat 16 feet 100 count</cus:description>







<cus:description>Round 8 feet 65 count</cus:description>









The above order message contains a collection of order "items". Each entry in the collection is represented by an "item" element. The OGNL expressions for the order item "partNumber" is constructed as "customerOrder.items[0].partnumber" and "customerOrder.items[1].partnumber". As you can see from this, the collection entry element (the "item" element) makes no explicit appearance in the OGNL expression. It is represented implicitly by the indexing notation. In terms of an Object Graph (Option 1 above), this could be represented by an Order object instance (keyed on the map as "customerOrder") containing an "items" list (List or array), with the list entries being "OrderItem" instances, which in turn contains "partNumber" etc properties.

Option 2 (above) provides a quick-and-dirty way to populate a SOAP message without having to create an Object model ala Option 1. The OGNL expressions that correspond with the SOAP operation parameters are exactly the same as for Option 1, except that there's not Object Graph Navigation involved. The OGNL expression is simply used as the key into the Map, with the corresponding key-value being the parameter.

To see the SOAP message template as it's being constructed and populated, add the “dumpSOAP” parameter to the parameter Map. This can be a very useful developer aid, but should not be left on outside of development.

      1. SOAP Response Message Consumption

The SOAP response object instance can be attached to the ESB Message instance in one of the following ways:

  1. On the default body location (Message.getBody().add(Map))

  2. On in a named body location (Message.getBody().add(String, Map)), where the name of that body location is specified as the value of the "set-payload-location" action property.

The response object instance can also be populated (from the SOAP response) in one of 3 ways:

  1. Option 1: As an Object Graph created and populated by the XStream toolkit2.

  2. Option 2: As a set of String based key-value pairs(<String, String>), where the key is an OGNL expression identifying the SOAP response element and the value is a String representing the value from the SOAP message.

  3. Option 3: If Options 1 or 2 are not specified in the action configuration, the raw SOAP response message (String) is attached to the message.

Using XStream as a mechanism for populating an Object Graph (Option 1 above) is straightforward and works well, as long as the XML and Java object models are in line with each other.

The XStream approach (Option 1) is configured on the action as follows:

<action name="soapui-client-action" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.soap.SOAPClient">

<property name="wsdl" value="http://localhost:18080/acme/services/RetailerService?wsdl"/>

<property name="operation" value="GetOrder"/>

<property name="get-payload-location" value="get-order-params" />

<property name="set-payload-location" value="get-order-response" />

<property name="responseXStreamConfig">

<alias name="customerOrder" class="com.acme.order.Order"

namespace="http://schemas.acme.com/services/CustomerOrder.xsd" />

<alias name="orderheader" class="com.acme.order.Header"

namespace="http://schemas.acme.com/services/CustomerOrder.xsd" />

<alias name="item" class="com.acme.order.OrderItem"

namespace="http://schemas.acme.com/services/CustomerOrder.xsd" />



In the above example, we also include an example of how to specify non-default named locations for the request parameters Map and response object instance.

We also provide, in addition to the above XStream configuration options, the ability to specify field name mappings and XStream annotated classes.

<property name="responseXStreamConfig">

<fieldAlias name="header" class="com.acme.order.Order"

fieldName="headerFieldName" />

<annotation class="com.acme.order.Order" />


Field mappings can be used to map XML elements onto Java fields on those occasions when the local name of the element does not correspond to the field name in the Java class.

To have the SOAP response data extracted into an OGNL keyed map (Option 2 above) and attached to the ESB Message, simply replace the "responseXStreamConfig" property with the "responseAsOgnlMap" property having a value of "true" as follows:

<action name="soapui-client-action" class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.soap.SOAPClient">

<property name="wsdl" value="http://localhost:18080/acme/services/RetailerService?wsdl"/>

<property name="operation" value="GetOrder"/>

<property name="get-payload-location" value="get-order-params" />

<property name="set-payload-location" value="get-order-response" />

<property name="responseAsOgnlMap" value="true" />


To return the raw SOAP message as a String (Option 3), simply omit both the "responseXStreamConfig" and "responseAsOgnlMap" properties.

      1. HttpClient Configuration

The SOAPClient uses Apache Commons HttpClient to execute SOAP requests. It uses the HttpClientFactory to create and configure the HttpClient instance. Specifying the HttpClientFactory configuration on the SOAPClient is very easy. Just add an additional property to the "wsdl" property as follows:

<property name="wsdl" 
  <http-client-property name="file" value="/localhost-https-18443.properties" ></http-client-property>

The "file" property value will be evaluated as a filesystem, classpath or URI based resource (in that order).

The following is an example of this property set:

# Configurators

# HttpProtocol config...

# AuthBASIC config...
authscope-realm=ActiveBPEL security realm

Properties may also be set directly on in the action configuration like so:

<property name="http-client-properties">

<http-client-property name="http.proxyHost" value="localhost"/>

<http-client-property name="http.proxyPort" value="8080"/>


For more information about the configuration options available please refer to this wiki page


Miscellaneous Action Processors.

    1. SystemPrintln

Simple action for printing out the contents of a message (ala System.out.println).

Will attempt to format the message contents as XML.

Input Type





  • message”: A message prefix.

  • printfull”: If true then the entire message is printed, otherwise just the byte array and attachments.

  • outputstream”: if true then System.out is used, otherwise System.err.

Sample Configuration

<action name="print-before"  class="org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.SystemPrintln">
    <property name="message" value="Message before action XXX" />

Developing Custom Actions

To implement a custom Action Processor, simply implement the org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.ActionPipelineProcessor interface.

This interface supports implementation of stateless actions that have a managed lifecycle. A single instance of a class implementing this interface is instantiated on a per pipeline basis (i.e. per action configuration). This means you can cache resources needed by the action in the initialise method, and clean them up in the destroy method.

The implementing class should process the message from within the process method implementation.

As a convenience, you should simple extend the org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.AbstractActionPipelineProcessor.


public class ActionXXXProcessor extends AbstractActionPipelineProcessor {

public void initialise() throws ActionLifecycleException {

// Initialise resources...


public Message process(final Message message) throws ActionProcessingException {

// Process messages in a stateless fashion...


public void destroy() throws ActionLifecycleException {

// Cleanup resources...



Configuring Actions Using Properties

Actions generally act as templates that require external configuration to perform their tasks. For example, a PrintMessage action might take a property named 'message' to indicate what to print and a property 'repeatCount' to indicate the number of times to print it. The action configuration in the jboss-esb.xml file might look like this:

<action name="PrintAMessage" class="test.PrintMessage">

<property name="information" value="Hello World!" />

<property name="repeatCount" value="5" />


The default method for loading property values in an action implementation is the use of a ConfigTree instance. The ConfigTree provides a DOM-like view of the action XML. By default, actions are expected to have a public constructor that takes a ConfigTree as a parameter. For example:

public class PrintMessage extends AbstractActionPipelineProcessor {

private String information;

private Integer repeatCount;

public PrintMessage(ConfigTree config) {

information = config.getAttribute("information");

repeatCount = new Integer(config.getAttribute("repeatCount"));


public Message process(Message message) throws
ActionProcessingException {

for (int i=0; i < repeatCount; i++) {





Another approach to setting action properties is to add setters on the action that correspond to the property names and allow the framework to populate them automatically. In order to have the action bean auto-populated, the action class must implement the org.jboss.soa.esb.actions.BeanConfiguredAction marker interface. For example, the following class has the same behavior as the one above.

public class PrintMessage extends AbstractActionPipelineProcessor

implements BeanConfiguredAction {

private String information;

private Integer repeatCount;

public setInformation(String information) {

this.information = information;


public setRepeatCount(Integer repeatCount) {

this.repeatCount = repeatCount;


public Message process(Message message) {

for (int i=0; i < repeatCount; i++) {





  1. the Integer parameter in setRepeatCount() is automatically converted from the String representation specified in the XML.

The BeanConfiguredAction method of loading properties is a good choice for actions that take simple arguments, while the ConfigTree method is better when you need to deal with the XML representation directly.

Connectors and Adapters


Not all clients and services of JBossESB will be able to understand the protocols and Message formats it uses natively. As such there is a need to be able to bridge between ESB-aware endpoints (those that understand JBossESB) and ESB-unaware endpoints (those that do not understand JBossESB). Such bridging technologies have existed for many years in a variety of distributed systems and are often referred to as Connectors, Gateways or Adapters.

One of the aims of JBossESB is to allow a wide variety of clients and services to interact. JBossESB does not require that all such clients and services be written using JBossESB or any ESB for that matter. There is an abstract notion of an Interoperability Bus within JBossESB, such that endpoints that may not be JBossESB-aware can still be “plugged in to” the bus.

  1. in what follows, the terms “within the ESB” or “inside the ESB” refer to ESB-aware endpoints.

All JBossESB-aware clients and services communicate with one another using Messages, to be described later. A Message is simply a standardized format for information exchange, containing a header, body (payload), attachments and other data. Furthemore, all JBossESB-aware services are identified using Endpoint References (EPRs), to be described later.

It is important for legacy interoperability scenarios that a SOA infrastructure such as JBossESB allow ESB-unaware clients to use ESB-aware services, or ESB-aware clients to use ESB-unaware services. The concept that JBossESB uses to facilitate this interoperability is through Gateways. A gateway is a service that can bridge between the ESB-aware and ESB-unaware worlds and translate to/from Message formats and to/from EPRs.

JBossESB currently supports Gateways and Connectors. In the following sections we shall examine both concepts and illustrate how they can be used.

The Gateway

Not all users of JBossESB will be ESB-aware. In order to facilitate those users interacting with services provided by the ESB, JBossESB has the concept of a Gateway: specialised servers that can accept messages from non-ESB clients and services and route them to the required destination.

A Gateway is a specialised listener process, that behaves very similarly to an ESB aware listener. There are some important differences however:

There are a few off the shelf composer classes: the default 'file' composer class will just package the file contents into the Message body; same idea for JMS messages. Default message composing class for a SQL table row is to package contents of all columns specified in configuration, into a java.util.Map.

Although these default composer classes will be enough for most use cases, it is relatively straightforward for users to provide their own message composing classes. The only requirements are a) they must have a constructor that takes a single ConfigTree argument, and b) they must provide a 'Message composing' method (default name is 'process' but this can be configured differently in the 'process' attribute of the <action> element within the ConfigTree provided at constructor time. The processing method must take a single argument of type Object, and return a Message value.

From JBossESB 4.5 onwards, the FileGateway accepts the file-filter-class configuration attribute which allows you to define a FileFilter implementation that may be used to select the files used by the gateway in question. Initialisation of user defined FileFilter instances is performed by the gateway if the instance is also of type org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.gateway.FileGatewayListener.FileFilterInit, in which case the init method will be called and passed the gateway ConfigTree instance.

By default the following FileFilter implementations are defined and used by the FileGateway: if an input suffix is defined in the configuration then files matching that suffix will be returned; alternatively if there is no input suffix then any file is accepted as long as it does not match the work suffix, error suffix and post suffix.

Gateway Data Mappings

When a non-JBossESB message is received by a Gateway it must be converted to a Message. How this is done and where in the Message the received data resides, depends upon the type of Gateway. The default conversion approach is described below:

  1. With the introduction of the InVM transport, it is now possible to deploy services within the same address space (VM) as a gateway, improving the efficiency of gateway-to-listener interactions.

How to change the Gateway Data Mappings

If you want to change how this mapping occurs then it will depend upon the type of Gateway:

  1. Whichever of the methods you use to redefine the Message composition, it is worth noting that you have complete control over what is in the Message and not just the Body. For example, if you want to define ReplyTo or FaultTo EPRs for the newly created Message, based on the original content, sender etc., then you should consider modifying the header too.

Connecting via JCA

You can use JCA Message Inflow as an ESB Gateway. This integration does not use MDBs, but rather ESB's lightweight inflow integration. To enable a gateway for a service, you must first implement an endpoint class. This class is a Java class that must implement the org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.jca.InflowGateway class:

public interface InflowGateway
public void setServiceInvoker(ServiceInvoker invoker);

The endpoint class must either have a default constructor, or a constructor that takes a ConfigTree parameter. This Java class must also implement the messaging type of the JCA adapter you are binding to. Here's a simple endpoint class example that hooks up to a JMS adapter:

public class JmsEndpoint implements InflowGateway, MessageListener
private ServiceInvoker service;
private PackageJmsMessageContents transformer = new PackageJmsMessageContents();

public void setServiceInvoker(ServiceInvoker invoker)
this.service = invoker;

public void onMessage(Message message)
org.jboss.soa.esb.message.Message esbMessage = transformer.process(message);

catch (Exception e)
throw new RuntimeException(e);

One instance of the JmsEndpoint class will be created per gateway defined for this class. This is not like an MDB that is pooled. Only one instance of the class will service each and every incoming message, so you must write threadsafe code.

At configuration time, the ESB creates a ServiceInvoker and invokes the setServiceInvoker method on the endpoint class. The ESB then activates the JCA endpoint and the endpoint class instance is ready to receive messages. In the JmsEndpoint example, the instance receives a JMS message and converts it to an ESB message type. Then it uses the ServiceInvoker instance to invoke on the target service.

  1. The JMS Endpoint class is provided for you with the ESB distribution under org.jboss.soa.esb.listeners.jca.JmsEndpoint It is quite possible that this class would be used over and over again with any JMS JCA inflow adapters.

    1. Configuration

A JCA inflow gateway is configured in a jboss-esb.xml file. Here's an example:

<service category="HelloWorld_ActionESB"
description="Hello World">
<jca-gateway name="JMS-JCA-Gateway"
<property name="destinationType" value="javax.jms.Queue"/>
<property name="destination" value="queue/esb_gateway_channel"/>

JCA gateways are defined in <jca-gateway> elements. These are the configurable attributes of this XML element.






The name of the gateway



The name of the adapter you are using. In JBoss it is the filename of the RAR you deployed, e.g., jms-ra.rar



The name of your endpoint class



The message interface for the adapter. If you do not specify one, ESB will guess based on the endpoint class.



Default to true. Whether or not you want to invoke the message within a JTA transaction.

You must define an <activation-config> element within <jca-gateway>. This element takes one or more <property> elements which have the same syntax as action properties. The properties under <activation-config> are used to create an activation for the JCA adapter that will be used to send messages to your endpoint class. This is really no different than using JCA with MDBs.

You may also have as many <property> elements as you want within <jca-gateway>. This option is provided so that you can pass additional configuration to your endpoint class. You can read these through the ConfigTree passed to your constructor.

Appendix A

Writing JAXB Annotation Introduction Configurations

JAXB Annotation Introduction configurations are very easy to write. If you're already familiar with the JAXB Annotations, you'll have no problem writing a JAXB Annotation Introduction configuration.

The XSD for the configuration is available online. In your IDE, register this XSD against the “http://www.jboss.org/xsd/jaxb/intros” namespace.

Only 3 annotations are currently supported:

  1. @XmlType: On the “Class” element.

  2. @XmlElement: On the “Field” and “Method” elements.

  3. @XmlAttribute: On the “Field” and “Method” elements.

The basic structure of the configuration file follows the basic structure of a Java class i.e. a “Class” containing “Fields” and “Methods”. The <Class>, <Field> and <Method> elements all require a “name” attribute for the name of the Class, Field or Method. The value of this name attribute supports regular expressions. This allows a single Annotation Introduction configuration to be targeted at more than one Class, Field or Member e.g. setting the namespace for a fields in a Class, or for all Classes in a package etc.

The Annotation Introduction configurations match exactly with the Annotation definitions themselves, with each annotation “element-value pair” represented by an attribute on the annotations introduction configuration. Use the XSD and your IDE to editing the configuration.

So here is an example:

<?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?>

<jaxb-intros xmlns="http://www.jboss.org/xsd/jaxb/intros">


The type namespaces on the customerOrder are different from the rest of the message...


<Class name="com.activebpel.ordermanagement.CustomerOrder">

<XmlType propOrder="orderDate,name,address,items" />

<Field name="orderDate">

<XmlAttribute name="date" required="true" />


<Method name="getXYZ">

<XmlElement namespace="http://org.jboss.esb/quickstarts/bpel/ABI_OrderManager"

nillable="true" />




More general namespace config for the rest of the message...


<Class name="com.activebpel.ordermanagement.*">

<Method name="get.*">

<XmlElement namespace="http://ordermanagement.activebpel.com/jaws" />




Appendix B

Service Oriented Architecture Overview

JBossESB is a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) infrastructure. SOA represents a popular architectural paradigm3 for applications, with Web Services as probably the most visible way of achieving an SOA4. Web Services implement capabilities that are available to other applications (or even other Web Services) via industry standard network and application interfaces and protocols. SOA advocates an approach in which a software component provides its functionality as a service that can be leveraged by other software components. Components (or services) represent reusable software building blocks.

SOA allows the integration of existing systems, applications and users into a flexible architecture that can easily accommodate changing needs. Integrated design, reuse of existing IT investments and above all, industry standards are the elements needed to create a robust SOA.

As enterprises slowly emerge from the mad rush of cost reduction into a more stable period of cost management, many of them find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Prior to the economic slow down, most firms understood the options they had for IT investment. Many embarked on major package implementations (e.g., Siebel, Peoplesoft and so on), while others built on the legacy systems they have trusted for years. Either way, most firms recognized the return promised and made the investment. Today, the appetite for such large investment is gone.

However, enterprises still need to make forward progress and keep ahead of the competition. SOA (and typically Web Services as a concrete implementation of those principles) make this possible. The result is dramatic improvements in collaboration between users, applications and technology components, generating significant value for any business creating competitive advantage.

Imagine a company that has existing software from a variety of different vendors, e.g., SAP, PeopleSoft. Some of these software packages may be useful to conduct business with other companies (customers, suppliers, etc.) and therefore what the company would like to do is to take those existing systems and make them available to other companies, by exposing them as services. A service here is some software component with a stable, published interface that can be invoked by clients (other software components). So, requesting and executing services involves software components owned by one company talking to components owned by another company, i.e., business-to-business (B2B) transactions.

Conventional distributed system infrastructures (middleware) are not sufficient for these cross-organizational exchanges. For instance

So, in B2B exchanges the lack of standardization across middleware platforms makes point-to-point solutions costly to realize in practice. The Internet alleviated some of these problems by providing standard interaction protocols (HTTP) and data formats (XML) but by themselves these standards are not enough to support application integration. They don't define interface definition languages, name and directory services, transaction protocols, etc,. It is the gap between what the Web provides and what application integration requires that Web services are trying to fill.

However, whilst the challenge and ultimate goal of SOA is inter-company interactions, services do not need to be accessed through the Internet. They can be made available to clients residing on a local LAN. Indeed, at this current moment in time, many Web services are being used in this context - intra-company integration rather than inter-company exchanges.

An example of how Web services can connect applications both intra-company and inter-company can be understood by considering a stand-alone inventory system. If you don't connect it to anything else, it's not as valuable as it could be. The system can track inventory, but not much more. Inventory information may have to be entered separately in the accounting and customer relationship management systems. The inventory system may be unable to automatically place orders to suppliers. The benefits of such an inventory system are diminished by high overhead costs.

However, if you connect your inventory system to your accounting system with XML, it gets more interesting. Now, whenever you buy or sell something, the implications for your inventory and your cash flow can be tracked in one step. If you go further, and connect your warehouse management system, customer ordering system, supplier ordering systems, and your shipping company with XML, suddenly that inventory management system is worth a lot. You can do end-to-end management of your business while dealing with each transaction only once, instead of once for every system it affects. A lot less work and a lot less opportunity for errors. These connections can be made easily using Web services.

Businesses are waking up to the benefits of SOA. These include:

Why SOA?

The problem space can be categorized by past IT investments in the area of eProcurement, eSourcing, Supply Chain Management, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Internet computing in general. All of these investments were made in a silo. Along with the incremental growth in these systems to meet short-term (tactical) requirements, the decisions made in this space hurt the long-term viability of the applications and infrastructure.

The three key drivers for implementing an SOA approach are:

  1. Cost Reduction: Achieved by the ways services talk to each other. The direct cost effect is delivered through enhanced operations productivity, effective sourcing options, and a significantly enhanced ability to shift ongoing costs to a variable model.

  2. Delivering IT solutions faster and smarter: A standards based approach will allow organizations to connect and share information and business processes much faster and easier than before. IT delivery productivity is markedly improved through simplification of the developer’s role by providing standard frameworks and interfaces. Delivery timescales have been drastically reduced by easing the integration load of individual functionality, and applying accelerated delivery techniques within the environment.

  3. Maximizing return on investment: Web Services opens the way for new business opportunities by enabling new business models. Web Services present the ability to measure value and discrete return much differently than traditional functional-benefit methods. Typical Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) models do not take into account the lifetime value generated by historical investment. This cost centric view destroys many opportunities to exploit these past investments and most enterprises end up building redundancy into their architecture, not out of necessity, but of perceived need. These same organizations focus the value proposition of their IT investment on a portfolio of applications, balanced by the overhead of infrastructure. An approach based on Web Services takes into account the lifetime contribution of legacy IT investment and promotes an evolution of these investments rather than a planned replacement.

SOA/Web Services fundamentally changes the way enterprise software is developed and deployed. SOA has evolved where new applications will not be developed using monolithic approaches, but instead become a virtualized on-demand execution model that breaks the current economic and technological bottleneck caused by traditional approaches.

Software as a service has become pervasive as a model for forward looking enterprises to streamline operations, lower cost of ownership and provides competitive differentiation in the marketplace. Web Services offers a viable opportunity for enterprises to drive significant costs out of software acquisitions, react to rapidly changing market conditions and conduct transactions with business partners at will. Loosely coupled, standards-based architectures are one approach to distributed computing that will allow software resources available on the network to be leveraged. Applications that separate business processes, presentation rules, business rules and data access into separate loosely coupled layers will not only assist in the construction of better software but also make it more adaptable to future change.

SOA will allow for combining existing functions with new development efforts, allowing the creation of composite applications. Leveraging what works lowers the risks in software development projects. By reusing existing functions, it leads to faster deliverables and better delivery quality.

Loose coupling helps preserve the future by allowing parts to change at their own pace without the risks linked to costly migrations using monolithic approaches. SOA allows business users to focus on business problems at hand without worrying about technical constraints. For the individuals who develop solutions, SOA helps in the following manner:

Basics of SOA

Traditional distributed computing environments have been tightly coupled in that they do not deal with a changing environment well. For instance, if an application is interacting with another application, how do they handle data types or data encoding if data types in one system change? How are incompatible data-types handled?

The service-oriented architecture (SOA) consists of three roles: requester, provider, and broker.

Advantages of SOA

SOA provide several significant benefits for distributed enterprise systems. Some of the most notable benefits include: interoperability, efficiency, and standardization. We will briefly explore each of these in this section.


Interoperability is the ability of software on different systems to communicate by sharing data and functionality. SOA/Web Services are as much about interoperability as they are about the Web and Internet scale computing. Most companies will have numerous business partners throughout the life of the company. Instead of writing a new addition to your applications every time you gain a new partner, you can write one interface using Web service technologies like SOAP. So now your partners can dynamically find the services they need using UDDI and bind to them using SOAP. You can also extend the interoperability of your systems by implementing Web services within your corporate intranet. With the addition of Web services to your intranet systems and to your extranet, you can reduce the cost integration, increase communication and increase your customer base.

It is also important to note that the industry has even established the Web Services Interoperability Organization.

The Web Services Interoperability Organization is an open industry effort chartered to promote Web Services interoperability across platforms, applications, and programming languages. The organization brings together a diverse community of Web services leaders to respond to customer needs by providing guidance, recommended practices, and supporting resources for developing interoperable Web services.” (www.ws-i.org)

The WS-I will actually determine whether a Web service conforms to WS-I standards as well as industry standards. In order to establish integrity and acceptance, companies will seek to build their Web services in compliance with the WS-I standards.


SOA will enable you to reuse your existing applications. Instead of creating totally new applications, you can create them using various combinations of services exposed by your existing applications. Developers can be more efficient because they can focus on learning industry standard technology. They will not have to spend a lot of time learning every new technology that arises. For a manager this means a reduction in the cost of buying new software and having to hire new developers with new skill sets. This approach will allow developers to meet changing business requirements and reduce the length of development cycles for projects. Overall, SOA provides for an increase in efficiency by allowing applications to be reused, decreasing the learning curve for developers and speeding up the total development process.


For something to be a true standard, it must be accepted and used by the majority of the industry. One vendor or small group of vendors must not control the evolution of the technology or specification. Most if not all of the industry leaders are involved in the development of Web service specifications. Almost all businesses use the Internet and World Wide Web in one form or another. The underlying protocol for the WWW is of course HTTP. The foundation of Web services is built upon HTTP and XML. Although SOA does not mandate a particular implementation framework, interoperability is important and SOAP is one of the few protocols that all good SOA implementations can agree on.

Statefull and Stateless services

Most proponents of Web Services agree that it is important that its architecture is as scalable and flexible as the Web. As a result, the current interaction pattern for Web Services is based on coarse-grained services or components. The architecture is deliberately not prescriptive about what happens behind service endpoints: Web Services are ultimately only concerned with the transfer of structured data between parties, plus any meta-level information to safeguard such transfers (e.g., by encrypting or digitally signing messages). This gives flexibility of implementation, allowing systems to adapt to changes in requirements, technology etc. without directly affecting users. Furthermore, most businesses will not want to expose their back-end implementation decisions and strategies to users for a variety of reasons.

In distributed systems such as CORBA, J2EE and DCOM, interactions are typically between statefull objects that resided within containers. In these architectures, objects are exposed as individually referenceable entities, tied to specific containers and therefore often to specific machines. Because most Web Services applications are written using object-oriented languages, it is natural to think about extending that architecture to Web Services. Therefore a service exposes Web Services resources that represent specific states. The result is that such architectures produce tight coupling between clients and services, making it difficult for them to scale to the level of the World Wide Web.

Right now there are two primary models for the session concept that are being defined by companies participating in defining Web services: the WS-Addressing EndpointReference with ReferenceProperties/ReferenceParameters and the WS-Context explicit context structure, both of which are supported within JBossESB. The WS-Addressing session model provides coupling between the web service endpoint information and the session data, which is analogous to object references in distributed object systems.

WS-Context provides a session model that is an evolution of the session models found in HTTP servers, transaction, and MOM systems. On the other hand, WS-Context allows a service client to more naturally bind the relationship to the service dynamically and temporarily. The client’s communication channel to the service is not impacted by a specific session relationship.

This has important implications as we consider scaling Web services from intra-domain deployments to general services offered on the Internet. The current interaction pattern for Web Services is based on coarse-grained services or components. The architecture is deliberately not prescriptive about what happens behind service endpoints: Web Services are ultimately only concerned with the transfer of structured data between parties, plus any meta-level information to safeguard such transfers (e.g., by encrypting or digitally signing messages). This gives flexibility of implementation, allowing systems to adapt to changes in requirements, technology etc. without directly affecting users. It also means that issues such as whether or not a service maintains state on behalf of users or their (temporally bounded) interactions, has been an implementation choice not typically exposed to users.

If a session-like model based on WS-Addressing were to be used when interacting with statefull services, then the tight coupling between state and service would impact on clients. As in other distribution environments where this model is used (e.g., CORBA or J2EE), the remote reference (address) that the client has to the service endpoint must be remembered by the client for subsequent invocations. If the client application interacts with multiple services within the same logical session, then it is often the case that the state of a service has relevance to the client only when used in conjunction with the associated states of the other services. This necessarily means that the client must remember each service reference and somehow associate them with a specific interaction; multiple interactions will obviously result in different reference sets that may be combined to represent each sessions.

For example, if there are N services used within the same application session, each maintaining m different states, the client application will have to maintain N*m reference endpoints. It is worth remembering that the initial service endpoint references will often be obtained from some bootstrap process such as UDDI. But in this model, these references are stateless and of no use beyond starting the application interactions. Subsequent visits to these sites that require access to specific states must use different references in the WS-Addressing model.

This obviously does not scale to an environment the size of the Web. However, an alternative approach is to use WS-Context and continue to embrace the inherently loosely-coupled nature of Web Services. As we have shown, each interaction with a set of services can be modeled as a session, and this in turn can be modeled as a WS-Context activity with an associated context. Whenever a client application interacts with a set of services within the same session, the context is propagated to the services and they map this context to the necessary states that the client interaction requires.

How this mapping occurs is an implementation specific choice that need not be exposed to the client. Furthermore, since each service within a specific session gets the same context, upon later revisiting these services and providing the same context again, the client application can be sure to return to a consistent set of states. So for the N services and m states in our previous example, the client need only maintain N endpoint references and as we mentioned earlier, typically these will be obtained from the bootstrap process anyway. Thus, this model scales much better.

JBossESB and its relationship with SOA

SOA is more than technology: it does not come in a shrink-wrapped box and requires changes to the way in which people work and interact as much as assistance from underlying infrastructures, such as JBossESB. With JBossESB 4.5 GA, Red Hat is providing a base SOA infrastructure upon which SOA applications can be developed. With the 4.2.1 release, most of the necessary hooks for SOA development are in place and Red Hat is working with its partners to ensure that their higher level platforms leverage these hooks appropriately. However, the baseline platform (JBossESB) will continue to evolve, with out-of-the-box improvements around tooling, runtime management, service life-cycle etc. In JBossESB 4.5 GA, it may be necessary for developers to leverage these hooks themselves, using low-level API and patterns.


  • ACL

Access Control List. A mean of determining the appropriate access rights to a given object depending on certain aspects of the process that is making the request.

  • Action Classes

A component that is responsible for doing a certain type of work after a receipt of a message inside the ESB.

  • Bus

A subsystem that transfers data between computer components inside a computer or between computers. Unlike a point-to-point connection, a bus can logically connect several components over the same structure.

  • Content Based Router (CBR)

A pluggable service inside the ESB that provides capabilities for message routing based on the content of the message.


Common Object Request Broker Architecture. A standard defined by the Object Management Group that enables software components written in multiple computer languages and running on multiple computers to interoperate.


CORBA Interface Definition Language. A computer language used to describe a software component's interface. It describes an interface in a language-neutral way, enabling communication between software components written in different languages.

  • EAI

Enterprise Application Integration. A practice that makes use of software and computer systems architectural principles to integrate a set of different enterprise computer applications.

  • Endpoint Reference (EPR)

A standard XML structure used to identify and address services inside the ESB. This includes the destination address of the message, any additional parameters (reference properties) necessary to route the message to the destination, and optional metadata (reference parameters) about the service.

  • ESB

Enterprise Service Bus. An abstraction layer on top of an implementation of an enterprise messaging system that provides the features with which Service Oriented Architectures may be implemented.

  • Fault

A type of message that express an error condition inside a Web Service. Similar to the Exception object in some programming languages.

  • Gateway

A specialized ESB listener process that can accept messages from non-ESB clients and services and route them to the required destination inside the ESB, taking care of the appropriate bridging of message types and EPRs.

  • J2EE/JEE

Java Platform Enterprise Edition (formerly known as Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition). A programming platform, based on the Java language, for developing and running distributed multi-tier Java applications. It is based largely on modular software components running on an application server.

  • JBI

Java Business Integration. An API that provides a standard pluggable architecture to build integration systems that hosts service producers and consumers components. Components interoperate through mediated normalized message exchanges.

  • JMS

Java Message Service. An API for sending messages between two or more systems.

  • JTA

Java Transaction API. An API that allows distributed transactions to be done across multiple XA resources

  • Listener Classes

A component that encapsulates the endpoints for message reception on the ESB.

  • Message

A data item that is sent (usually asynchronously) to a communication endpoint. This concept is the higher-level version of a datagram except that messages can be larger than a packet and can optionally be made reliable, durable, secure, and/or transacted.

  • Message Factory

A service inside the ESB that can build specific types of messages according to their serialization capabilities.

  • Message Store

A pluggable service inside the ESB that persists messages for auditing and tracking purposes.

  • MOM

Message Oriented Middleware. A software component that makes possible inter-application communication relying on asynchronous message-passing.

  • Quality of Service

A term that refers to control mechanisms that can provide different priority to different users or data flows, or guarantee a certain level of performance to a data flow in accordance with requests from the application program.

  • RPC

Remote Procedure Call. A protocol that allows a computer program running on one computer to call a subroutine on another computer without the programmer explicitly coding the details for this interaction.

  • SCA

Service Component Architecture. A set of specifications that describe a model for building applications and systems using Service-Oriented Architecture. It encourages an SOA organization of applications based on components that offer their capabilities through service-oriented interfaces and which consume functions offered by other components through service-oriented interfaces, called service references.

  • Service Registry

A persistent repository of Service information. Used by ESB components to publish, discover and consume services.

  • SOA

Service Oriented Architecture. A perspective of software architecture that defines the use of loosely coupled software services to support the requirements of the business processes and software users. In an SOA environment, resources on a network are made available as independent services that can be accessed without knowledge of their underlying platform implementation.

  • SOAP

A protocol for exchanging XML-based messages over computer network, normally using HTTP. SOAP forms the foundation layer of the Web services stack, providing the basic messaging framework.

  • Transformation Service

A pluggable service inside the ESB that provides capabilities for transforming messages from one data format to another.

  • UDDI

Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration. A platform-independent, XML-based registry and core Web Services standard. It is designed to be interrogated by SOAP messages and to provide access to Web Services Description Language documents describing the protocol bindings and message formats required to interact with the web services listed in its directory.

  • WS-Addressing

A Web Service specification for addressing web services and messages in a transport-neutral manner. This specification enables messaging systems to support message transmission through networks that include processing nodes such as endpoint managers, firewalls, and gateways.


Web Services Business Process Execution Language. A choreography language for the formal specification of business processes and business interaction protocols using Web Services. Thus BPEL's messaging facilities depend on the use of Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.1 to describe incoming and outgoing messages.

  • WS-Context

A Web Service specification that provides a definition, a structuring mechanism, and a software service definition for organizing and sharing context across multiple Web Services endpoints.

The context contains information (such as a unique identifier) that allows a series of operations to share a common outcome.

  • WSDL

Web Services Description Language. An XML format for describing the public interface to a Web services based on how to communicate using the web service; namely, the protocol bindings and message formats required to interact with it.

  • WS-Policy

A Web Service specification that allows web services to advertise their policies (on security, Quality of Service, etc.) and for web service consumers to specify their policy requirements.

  • WS-Security

A Web Service specification that provides a set of mechanisms to secure SOAP message exchanges. Specifically, it describes enhancements to provide quality of protection through the application of message integrity, message confidentiality, and single message authentication to SOAP messages.

  • WS-Trust

A Web Service specification that uses the secure messaging mechanisms of WS-Security to define additional primitives and extensions for the issuance, exchange and validation of security tokens.

  • XA

An X/Open specification for distributed transaction processing. It describes the interface between the global transaction manager and the local resource manager to support a two-phase commit protocol.

  • XML

Extensible Markup Language. A general-purpose markup language that supports a wide variety of applications. Its primary purpose is to facilitate the sharing of data across different information systems.


actor 92

Architectural components 16

BpmProcessor 92

Configuring JBossESB 81

esbToBpmVars 93

Format adapters 43

jbpmProcessInstId 93

jbpmTokenId 93

mapping 93

process-definition-id 92

processdefinition 92


history 16

SOA Overview 122

basics 125

benefts 123

Why SOA? 124

transition-name 92

1The InVM transport is a new feature since JBossESB 4.3 that provides communication between services running on the same JVM. Section 4.3.3, "InVM Transport" contains more information about this feature.

2 We also plan to add support for unmarshaling the response using JAXB and JAXB Annotation Introductions.

3 The principles behind SOA have been around for many years, but Web Services have popularised it.

4 It is possible to build non-SOA applications using Web Services.