Using Web Services Testing Tools to Measure WSDL WS-I Compliance

Due to many shortcomings of the webMethods Developer WSDL generator, I and others have advised developers to create WSDL files using alternate tools such as XML Spy Enterprise or the Eclipse WDT WSDL editor. I personally use XML Spy because it does a better job of validating WSDL files up front.

Recently, I have begun evaluating web services testing tools including CrossCheck Network’s SOAP Sonar and Mindreef’s SOAPScope.

I expected to find these tools to be valuable in building web services regression test suites and, so far, it looks as if this will be true.

What I did not expect was that these tools also add value by performing interoperability testing of WSDL files that were created using XML Spy, Eclipse WDT or (yech) webMethods Developer WSDL generator.

Both tools utilize the WS-I’s interoperability test suite to measure the degree to which a WSDL meets the best practice recommendations. SOAP Sonar only provides one type of WS-I test while SOAPScope allows you to choose from several. Both tools have trouble pinpointing the exact location inside the WSDL file that is causing a WS-I “violation” to be reported.

At any rate, using one of these tools or a similar one helps to identify issues in a project’s WSDL files that might need to be addressed in order to improve its interoperability with the service’s consumers.

My feature request for WM is to add the ability to measure WS-I compliance into whatever WSDL generation will be provided in the next major release of IS. Doing so will not only be useful for developers, but putting it in the product will likely lead to higher quality of generated WSDL’s.


On a side note, XML Spy provides three additional features that have made the product well worth the price:

  1. Validation of schemas and WSDLs. This made creating my own schema and WSDL files a breeze. I used the Developer generated WSDL as a starting point and have never looked back!
  2. Generation of SOAP requests. This is invaluable for testing web services hosted in wM IS.
  3. Generation of schema documentation!!! I can’t tell you how happy I was one I clicked a button that generated hundreds of pages of detailed HTML documentation for all of my services inputs/outputs (all of which are defined in my schema). I provide updated documentation to my web service clients on a regular basis.

Anyway, this is off topic from Mark’s original posting but worth mentioning.


XML Spy is one of those essential tools for anyone doing web services development or working with XML in more than just a casual way. No, its not perfect and yes, there are other tools that do similar things, but it has consistently been the most effective for my purposes.

Altova offers a free personal edition and evaluation versions of their Professional and Enterprise editions.

The also over free 2-hour training classes:

The “Developing Web Services” course would appear to be useful for those who are new to web services design and development.


The good folks at CrossCheck Networks have become a wMUsers advertising sponsor. They have a great product and should be evaluated as part of any comprehensive web services testing tool selection.