AXIS2 Web Services Tutorial

Recently I was trying to upgrade my Apache Axis2 skills from 1.3 to latest version 1.5.4 and I was not able to find out any tutorial that is self-explanatory and covering the latest release. So it forms the basis of my post for Axis2 Web Services Tutorial.


Who Should Use This Tutorial

This tutorial is intended for Java programmers who are interested in developing and deploying Web Services using Apache Axis2.


The scope of this tutorial is to use Axis2 for creating web services and invoking the web service using Java client program and testing web service using Soap UI tool. Basic understanding of Java, Web Services, XML, Ant and application server (Tomcat) is required to understand the tutorial with ease.

Software and Tools Used

  1. Java Development Kit (JDK) 1.6.0 (Tomcat 7 requires min JDK 1.6)
  2. Apache Ant 1.7.0 (Axis2 requires minimum version 1.6.5)
  3. Apache Axis2 1.5.4 (Binary Distribution)
  4. Eclipse 3.6.1 IDE for Project Development (You can use other IDE also, for example NetBeans)
  5. Apache Tomcat 7.0.8
  6. SoapUI for testing our web service.
  7. Mac OS X 10.6.4 (I am working on Mac OS but the tutorial should work for other operating systems also, however some change might be needed in executing the commands)

System Setup

  1. Download the latest version of Apache Tomcat latest version. As of now, latest version is 7.0.8 and that is what I am using for this tutorial. It requires minimum Java Version 1.6, so make sure its installed in your system. If Java 6 is not installed in your system, you should download and install it first from Java SE Downloads. Download the Tomcat Core zip ( and unzip it to install it on your system. Set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to start and stop the server.
  2. Download Apache Axis2 1.5.4 Binary Distribution zip from Apache Axis2 – Releases. This step is required to create axis2.war that will be deployed to tomcat and to get the axis2 libraries to be used in projects.
  3. Unzip the Axis2 binary distribution zip into any convenient directory. Go to axis2-1.5.4/webapp directory and run the “ant create.war” command to create the axis2.war deployment in the axis2-1.5.4/dist directory. If you don’t have Apache Ant installed, you can download and install it from Apache Ant – Binary Distributions. Please note that I was facing some issue with axis2.war downloaded from War Distribution. Later on I found out that few jars are missing in the axis2.war War Distribution. War Distribution contains only 58 jars whereas Binary Distribution contains 63 jars. (I am feeling lazy to find out, which jars are missing.)
    $ ant create.war
    Buildfile: build.xml
        [mkdir] Created dir: /Users/pankaj/Downloads/axis2-1.5.4/dist/temp
         [copy] Copying 59 files to /Users/pankaj/Downloads/axis2-1.5.4/dist/temp
         [copy] Copying 9 files to /Users/pankaj/Downloads/axis2-1.5.4/dist/temp/WEB-INF
        [mkdir] Created dir: /Users/pankaj/Downloads/axis2-1.5.4/dist/temp/WEB-INF/conf
         [copy] Copying 1 file to /Users/pankaj/Downloads/axis2-1.5.4/dist/temp/WEB-INF/conf
          [war] Building war: /Users/pankaj/Downloads/axis2-1.5.4/dist/axis2.war
       [delete] Deleting directory /Users/pankaj/Downloads/axis2-1.5.4/dist/temp
    Total time: 2 seconds
  4. Deploy the axis2.war in the tomcat application server by copying it in tomcat webapps directory. You may need to restart the server if it’s not supporting hot deployment.
  5. Go to http://localhost:8080/axis2/ and click on Validate link. If the Happy Axis page is coming with GREEN color then it means that axis2 is successfully deployed. Our system setup is ready now and we can proceed for creating Axis2 web services.

Creating Axis2 Web Service

For creating Axis2 Web Service archive, we need following:

  1. A Java Project (Axis2WSImplementation) with a class that will be exposed as a web service. In my example, I am exposing two operations from MyService class. The first operation getData input is String and returns String whereas the second operation getObjectData input is MyBean java object and returns MyBean java object after some data manipulation. Note that MyBean class implements Serializable interface so that it can be transferred over the network.
  2. Ant build.xml file that will be used to create aar, wsdl and client side stub and callback handler classes.
  3. services.xml file that will be part of the axis2 archive. This file will be put in the META-INF folder of the axis2 archive.

The project structure will look something like the below image.

Don’t get confused with the content inside build folder. They will be created when we will execute the build.xml ant file.

Axis2 Web Service Project Explanation Implementation class that will be exposed as Axis2 web service.


import com.journaldev.bean.MyBean;

public class MyService {

	public String getData(String input) {
		return "Hi" + input;

	public MyBean getObjectData(MyBean myBean) {

		String name = myBean.getName();
		int id = myBean.getId();
		myBean.setId(id + 100);
		myBean.setName("Output: " + name);

		return myBean;
} Java Bean class that is input and output of getObjectData operation in web service.

package com.journaldev.bean;


public class MyBean implements Serializable {

	private static final long serialVersionUID = -1129402159048345204L;

	private String name;

	private int id;

	public String getName() {
		return name;

	public void setName(String name) { = name;

	public int getId() {
		return id;

	public void setId(int id) { = id;


services.xml: Axis2 web service related parameters are part of this xml file. ServiceClass parameter specifies the class that will be exposed as web service. The other important parameters are targetNamespace and schemaNamespace.

<service name="MyService" scope="application" targetNamespace="">
 <messageReceiver mep="" class="org.apache.axis2.rpc.receivers.RPCInOnlyMessageReceiver" />
 <messageReceiver mep="" class="org.apache.axis2.rpc.receivers.RPCMessageReceiver" />
 <schema schemaNamespace=""/>
 <parameter name="ServiceClass"></parameter>

build.xml: Ant build file for performing Axis2 tasks. There are three targets defined whose details are:

  1. generate.wsdl: This target generates the MyService.wsdl file in the build folder. Make sure that targetNamespace and schemaTargetNamespace is same as in service.xml file.
  2. generate.service: This target generates axis2 archive in the build folder. It includes the services.xml file in the archive and archive name is MyService.aar
  3. generate.client: This target generates the client side classes. Make sure you run this after executing generate.wsdl so the MyService.wsdl file is present in the build folder.
<project name="AxisWSImplementation" basedir="." default="generate.service">

 <property environment="env"/>
 <property name="build.dir" value="build"/>

 <path id="axis2.classpath">
 <fileset dir="${basedir}/lib">
 <include name="*.jar"/>

 <target name="compile.service">
 <mkdir dir="${build.dir}"/>
 <mkdir dir="${build.dir}/classes"/>
 <mkdir dir="${build.dir}/resources"/>
 <!--First let's compile the classes-->
 <javac debug="on"

 <target name="generate.wsdl" depends="compile.service">
 <taskdef name="java2wsdl"
 <java2wsdl className=""
 <pathelement path="${axis2.classpath}"/>
 <pathelement location="${build.dir}/classes"/>

 <target name="generate.service" depends="compile.service">
 <copy toDir="${build.dir}/classes" failonerror="false">
 <fileset dir="${basedir}/resources">
 <include name="**/*.xml"/>
 <jar destfile="${build.dir}/MyService.aar">
 <fileset excludes="**/Test.class" dir="${build.dir}/classes"/>

 <target name="generate.client" depends="compile.service">
 <taskdef name="wsdl2java"
 output="${build.dir}/resources" />

 <target name="clean">
 <delete dir="${build.dir}"/>

Generating WSDL, Axis Archive and Stub Files

  • Execute generate.wsdl ant target to generate MyService.wsdl file.
  • Execute generate.service ant target to generate the MyService.aar file.
  • Execute generate.client ant target to generate the Stub classes.

Axis2 Web Service Deployment

Copy the MyService.aar in ~apache-tomcat-7.0.8/webapps/axis2/WEB-INF/services directory. Axis2 supports hot deployment of services, so you don’t need to restart the server. Check your service deployment on ListServices page (http://localhost:8080/axis2/services/listServices). MyService should be listed there with two operations.

Axis2 Web Service Testing

After deploying the service, first of all we need to test it. Here I am using SoapUI that is one of the best tools for Web Service Testing. If you don’t have it, you can download it from their website and install it easily.

Steps for Testing using SoapUI

  1. Create a new SoapUI project with Project Name MyServiceTest (you can give any name you want) and Initial WSDL/WADL http://localhost:8080/axis2/services/MyService?wsdl (You can get this URL from Axis2 List Services page after clicking on the MyService link.). Leave other options with default value and click on OK button to create the SoapUI testing project.
  2. Take any of the Soap Bindings and double click on the getData and getObjectData SOAP Requests.
  3. Provide some values for input in the request and submit it to the web service end point URL. You should get output from the service similar to the below image. It confirms that our web service is up and running.

Now we will proceed with the last task of invoking the web service using Axis2 stub classes.

Axis2 Web Service invocation using Stub Files

  1. Create a Java Project Axis2Client in Eclipse.
  2. Create lib folder and copy all the Axis2 jars from downloaded binary distribution lib folder. Add these jars to the build path of the project.
  3. Copy earlier generated and in the project src with correct package structure. In my case I copied them in com.journaldev package. If you have to provide these classes to somebody else, I would strongly suggest creating a jar from them and then distributing it with others to avoid any modifications.
  4. Create the Axis2ClientUsingStubsFromAnt client class to invoke the web service operations. The project structure will look similar like below image.

Axis2ClientUsingStubsFromAnt Code


import java.rmi.RemoteException;

import com.journaldev.MyServiceStub;
import com.journaldev.MyServiceStub.GetData;
import com.journaldev.MyServiceStub.GetDataResponse;
import com.journaldev.MyServiceStub.GetObjectData;
import com.journaldev.MyServiceStub.GetObjectDataResponse;
import com.journaldev.MyServiceStub.MyBean;

 * @author Pankaj - This class will invoke Axis2 web service
 *         operations using Stub classes
public class Axis2ClientUsingStubsFromAnt {

	 * END_POINT is the web service endpoint
	private final static String END_POINT = "http://localhost:8080/axis2/services/MyService";

	public static void main(String[] args) throws RemoteException {

		// Create the Stub Object by passing the Web Service Endpoint URL
		MyServiceStub stub = new MyServiceStub(END_POINT);

		// Creating input object for the getData operation
		GetData getDataInput = new GetData();

		// Setting the input part in the getData input object

		// invoking the getData operation
		GetDataResponse getDataOutput = stub.getData(getDataInput);

		// get_return method returns the web service output object. Here its
		// String, so we can
		// directly print the returned value
		System.out.println("Output:" + getDataOutput.get_return());

		// Creating input object for the getObjectData operation
		GetObjectData getObjectDataInput = new GetObjectData();
		MyBean myBean = new MyBean();

		// Setting the input part in the getObjectData input object

		// invoking the getObjectData operation
		GetObjectDataResponse getObjectDataOutput = stub

		// Get the MyBean object from the response object
		MyBean myBeanOutput = getObjectDataOutput.get_return();

		// Print the myBeanOutput values to check that web service operations
		// are getting invoked
		System.out.println("ID:" + myBeanOutput.getId() + "NAME:"
				+ myBeanOutput.getName());




Execute the Axis2ClientUsingStubsFromAnt class to invoke the web service. Output of the above program is:

log4j:WARN No appenders could be found for logger (org.apache.axis2.description.AxisService).
log4j:WARN Please initialize the log4j system properly.
ID:101NAME:Output: KUMAR

If you find the tutorial helpful in understanding Axis2 and getting started with it, please share your thoughts in the comment section.

And yeah, don’t forget to share it across with others.

Your two clicks and 5 seconds time can help someone else to learn Axis2 easily. 🙂


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