Consume a Complex Web Service

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1 Introduction

This how-to explains how to consume a (third-party) web service with which you can integrate your Mendix application and reuse functionality and data from other applications. Web services are the preferred way of integrating a Mendix application with external systems. They can be used to retrieve data, send updates, and perform operations. In Mendix, calling a web service is something you do in a microflow using the Call Web Service action.

This how-to will teach you how to do the following:

  • Import a web service using the wizard and directly
  • Configure a web service call

2 Importing a Web Service Using the Wizard

This section will describe the powerful wizard that enables integrating—in just a few clicks—the creation of an imported web service, the related data entities, the XML-mapping, and a microflow to trigger the web service.

2.1 The Configuration

To import a web service using the wizard, follow these steps:

  1. Open your domain model and click Import web service/XML file in the toolbar.

    This will open a straightforward wizard dialog that guides you through importing the result of a web service (or an XML file). As a result, it will generate the following items:

    • Domain model entities to store the results
    • An XML-to-domain mapping that maps the incoming XML to Mendix objects
    • An imported web service (or XML schema) document
    • A microflow that calls the web service (or imports an XML file) (optional)
  2. On the Import Web Service or XML Scheme dialog box, select Web service operation and click Next:

  3. On the Import Web Service dialog box, select Create new imported web service and click Next:

  4. For WSDL source in the Web service Description section of the New Web Service Operation dialog box, select the WSDL to be used for this imported web service. You can either use a URL or load a File from your computer.

  5. Click Next to fetch the services and operations in the WSDL.

  6. On the New Web Service Operation dialog box, you can now review the services and operations available to the imported web service. Select a web service operation and click Next.

  7. On the Select Elements dialog box, you can optionally select the elements to map as return values of the web service, and then click Next.

  8. The final step in this wizard provides you with the option to create a microflow in which the imported web service is called and the option to add icons to the generated entities:

    Click Finish to create the web service.

2.1 The Outcome

When finished the wizard will add to your model based on the options selected:

  • The imported service
  • An XML to domain mapping
  • A microflow in which the web service operation is called
  • Domain model entities (by default, the Modeler creates non-persistent entities)

3 Importing a Web Service Directly

An alternative to using the wizard described above is to import a web service document directly into your project. For more information, see Consumed Web Services in the Mendix Reference Guide.

To import a web service directly, follow these steps:

  1. Add an imported web service to your project.
  2. Double-click the imported web service in the Project Explorer to start configuring it.
  3. In the Imported Web Service dialog box, you can change the name of the published web service in the Name field, and you can describe the design purpose of the web service in the Documentation field:

  4. In the Web Service Description section, enter the WSDL to be used for this imported web service. You can use a URL or load a File from your computer.

  5. Click Import to fetch the services and operations in the WSDL.

  6. Review the Services and Operations available to the imported web service:

4 Configuring the Web Service Call

To configure the web service call, follow these steps:

  1. If you have not used the web service wizard or have not used the option within this wizard to automatically create a microflow, you have to create a microflow that will call the imported web service:

  2. If you are creating your own microflow, add the Call Web Service activity to the microflow. For details on how to add activities to microflows, see Activities in the Mendix Reference Guide.

  3. Click Select… in the Web service operation section of the Call Web Service dialog box:

    This will bring up the Select Web Service Operation pop-up window, where you can choose the operation for this web service call:

  4. On the SOAP Body tab in the Request section of the Call Web Service dialog box (see above) you can configure the SOAP body, which contains the parameters needed to execute the web service request. The Simple, Advanced, and Custom option buttons enable choosing the type of SOAP body to use. Click Edit value to change the domain-to-XML mapping or the variables from the microflow used as input arguments.

    • Use the Simple option if the imported web service requires only primitive arguments:

    • Use the Advanced option if the web service call needs a list of objects or if the domain model entities need to be mapped to XML elements:

    • Use the Custom option for the definition of a custom XML body with parameters:

  5. On the SOAP Header tab in the Request section of the Call Web Service dialog box, you can enter authentication information using the Edit value button if the imported web service requires authentication:

    There are three input options:

    • Use the Simple option if only static values or variables from the microflow need to be passed to the imported web service
    • Use the Advanced option if domain-to-XML mapping is needed for authentication
    • Use the Custom option to define a custom XML header and to specify parameters
  6. On the HTTP Authentication tab in the Request section of the Call Web Service dialog box, enter the HTTP authentication information if the Mendix Business Server should use this before calling the web service:

  7. In the Output section of the Call Web Service dialog box, you can configure the handling of the return from the web service call:

    • If the return is a complex XML structure, you can select the Map to entities option and use an XML-to-domain mapping to map the XML elements to the domain model entities:

    • If the return is a primitive, you can store it in a variable that you can name in the Store in variable field:

    • If you want to ignore the return, select the Ignore option

  8. Your imported web service is now ready to be used in your application.

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