JBoss.orgCommunity Documentation

Chapter 15. Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP)

15.1. Introduction
15.2. Level of support in JBoss Portal
15.3. Deploying JBoss Portal's WSRP services
15.3.1. Considerations to use WSRP when running Portal on a non-default port or hostname
15.3.2. Considerations to use WSRP with SSL
15.4. Making a portlet remotable
15.5. Consuming JBoss Portal's WSRP portlets from a remote Consumer
15.6. Consuming remote WSRP portlets in JBoss Portal
15.6.1. Overview
15.6.2. Configuring a remote producer walk-through
15.6.3. WSRP Producer descriptors
15.6.4. Examples
15.7. Consumers maintenance
15.7.1. Modifying a currently held registration
15.7.2. Consumer operations
15.7.3. Erasing local registration data
15.8. Configuring JBoss Portal's WSRP Producer
15.8.1. Overview
15.8.2. Default configuration
15.8.3. Registration configuration
15.8.4. WSRP validation mode

The Web Services for Remote Portlets specification defines a web service interface for accessing and interacting with interactive presentation-oriented web services. It has been produced through the efforts of the Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP) OASIS Technical Committee. It is based on the requirements gathered and on the concrete proposals made to the committee.

Scenarios that motivate WSRP functionality include:

More information on WSRP can be found on the official website for WSRP. We suggest reading the primer for a good, albeit technical, overview of WSRP.

The WSRP Technical Committee defined WSRP Use Profiles to help with WSRP interoperability. We will refer to terms defined in that document in this section.

JBoss Portal provides a Simple level of support for our WSRP Producer except that out-of-band registration is not currently handled. We support in-band registration and persistent local state (which are defined at the Complex level).

On the Consumer side, JBoss Portal provides a Medium level of support for WSRP, except that we only handle HTML markup (as Portal itself doesn't handle other markup types). We do support explicit portlet cloning and we fully support the PortletManagement interface.

As far as caching goes, we have Level 1 Producer and Consumer. We support Cookie handling properly on the Consumer and our Producer requires initialization of cookies (as we have found that it improved interoperabilty with some consumers). We don't support custom window states or modes, as Portal doesn't either. We do, however, support CSS on both the Producer (though it's more a function of the portlets than inherent Producer capability) and Consumer.

While we provide a complete implementation of WSRP 1.0, we do need to go through the Conformance statements and perform more interoperability testing (an area that needs to be better supported by the WSRP Technical Committee and Community at large).

JBoss Portal provides a complete support of WSRP 1.0 standard interfaces and offers both consumer and producer services. WSRP support is provided by the portal-wsrp.sar service archive, included in the main jboss-portal.sar service archive, if you've obtained JBoss Portal from a binary distribution. If you don't intend on using WSRP, we recommend that you remove portal-wspr.sar from the main jboss-portal.sar service archive.

If you've obtained the source distribution of JBoss Portal, you need to build and deploy the WSRP service separately. Please follow the instructions on how to install JBoss Portal from the sources. Once this is done, navigate to JBOSS_PORTAL_HOME_DIRECTORY/wsrp and type: build deploy At the end of the build process, portal-wsrp.sar is copied to JBOSS_HOME/server/default/deploy.

JBoss Portal does NOT, by default, expose local portlets for consumption by remote WSRP consumers. In order to make a portlet remotely available, it must be made "remotable" by adding a remotable element to the jboss-portlet.xml deployment descriptor for that portlet. If a jboss-portlet.xml file does not exist, one must be added to the WEB-INF folder of the web application containing the portlet.

In the following example, the "BasicPortlet" portlet is specified as being remotable. The remotable element is optional.

It is also possible to specify that all the portlets declared within a given jboss-portlet.xml file have a specific "remotable" status by default. This is done by adding a single remotable element to the root portlet-app element. Usually, this feature will be used to remotely expose several portlets without having to specify the status for all the declared portlets. Let's look at an example:

In the example above, we defined two portlets with a default "remotable" status set to true. This means that all portlets defined in this descriptor are, by default, exposed remotely by JBoss Portal's WSRP producer. Note, however, that it is possible to override the default behavior by adding a remotable element to a portlet description. In that case, the "remotable" status defined by the portlet takes precedence over the default. In the example above, the RemotelyExposedPortlet inherits the "remotable" status defined by default since it does not specify a remotable element in its description. The NotRemotelyExposedPortlet, however, overrides the default behavior and is not remotely exposed. Note that in the absence of a top-level remotable element, portlets are NOT remotely exposed.

WSRP Consumers vary a lot as far as how they are configured. Most of them require that you either specify the URL for the Producer's WSDL definition or the URLs for the individual endpoints. Please refer to your Consumer's documentation for specific instructions. For instructions on how to do so in JBoss Portal, please refer to Section 15.6, “Consuming remote WSRP portlets in JBoss Portal”.

JBoss Portal's Producer is automatically set up when you deploy a portal instance with the WSRP service. You can access the WSDL file at http://{hostname}:{port}/portal-wsrp/MarkupService?wsdl. You can access the endpoint URLs at:

  • http://{hostname}:{port}/portal-wsrp/ServiceDescriptionService
  • http://{hostname}:{port}/portal-wsrp/MarkupService
  • http://{hostname}:{port}/portal-wsrp/RegistrationService
  • http://{hostname}:{port}/portal-wsrp/PortletManagementService

The default hostname is localhost and the default port is 8080.

Let's work through the steps of defining access to a remote producer so that its portlets can be consumed within JBoss Portal. We will configure access to BEA's public WSRP producer. We will first examine how to do so using the configuration portlet. We will then show how the same result can be accomplish with a producer descriptor.

As of Portal 2.6, a configuration portlet is provided to configure access to remote WSRP Producers grahically. You can access it at http://{hostname}:{port}/portal/auth/portal/admin/WSRP or by logging in as a Portal administrator and clicking on the WSRP tab in the Admin portal. If all went well, you should see something similar to this:

This screen presents all the configured producers associated with their status and possible actions on them. A Consumer can be active or inactive. Activating a Consumer means that it is ready to act as a portlet provider. Deactivating it will remove it from the list of available portlet providers. Note also that a Consumer can be marked as requiring refresh meaning that the information held about it might not be up to date and refreshing it from the remote Producer might be a good idea. This can happen for several reasons: the service description for that remote Producer has not been fetched yet, the cached version has expired or modifications have been made to the configuration that could potentially invalidate it, thus requiring re-validation of the information.

Next, we create a new Consumer which we will callbea. Type "bea" in the "Create a consumer named:" field then click on "Create consumer":

You should now see a form allowing you to enter/modify the information about the Consumer. Set the cache expiration value to 300 seconds and enter the WSDL URL for the producer in the text field and press the "Refresh & Save" button:

This will retrieve the service description associated with the Producer which WSRP is described by the WSDL file found at the URL you just entered. In our case, querying the service description will allow us to learn that the Producer requires registration and that it expects a value for the registration property named registration/consumerRole:

Enter "public" as the value for the registration property and press "Save & Refresh" once more. You should now see something similar to:

The Consumer for the bea Producer should now be available as a portlet provider and is ready to be used.

A producer is configured, by default, by retrieving the producer's information via a WSDL URL. There are rare cases, however, where URLs need to be provided for each of the producer's end points. You can do exactly that by unchecking the "Use WSDL?" checkbox, as is the case for the self producer:

A WSRP Producer descriptor is an XML file which name ends in -wsrp.xml and which can be dropped in the deploy directory of the JBoss application server or nested in .sar files. It is possible to configure access to several different producers within a single descriptor or use one file per producer, depending on your needs. An XML Schema for the WSRP Producer descriptor format can be found at jboss-portal.sar/portal-wsrp.sar/xsd/jboss-wsrp-consumer_2_6.xsd, while a (legacy) DTD can be found at jboss-portal.sar/portal-wsrp.sar/dtd/jboss-wsrp-consumer_2_6.dtd.

Let's now look at which information needs to be provided to configure access to a remote producer.

First, we need to provide an identifier for the producer we are configuring so that we can refer to it afterwards. This is accomplished via the mandatory id attribute of the <wsrp-producer> element.

JBoss Portal also needs to learn about the remote producer's endpoints to be able to connect to the remote web services and perform WSRP invocations. Two options are currently supported to provide this information:

Both the id attribute and either <endpoint-config> or <endpoint-wsdl-url> elements are required for a functional remote producer configuration.

It is also possible to provide addtional configuration, which, in some cases, might be important to establish a proper connection to the remote producer.

One such optional configuration concerns caching. To prevent useless roundtrips between the local consumer and the remote producer, it is possible to cache some of the information sent by the producer (such as the list of offered portlets) for a given duration. The rate at which the information is refreshed is defined by the expiration-cache attribute of the <wsrp-producer> element which specifies the refreshing period in seconds. For example, providing a value of 120 for expiration-cache means that the producer information will not be refreshed for 2 minutes after it has been somehow accessed. If no value is provided, JBoss Portal will always access the remote producer regardless of whether the remote information has changed or not. Since, in most instances, the information provided by the producer does not change often, we recommend that you use this caching facility to minimize bandwidth usage.

Additionally, some producers require consumers to register with them before authorizing them to access their offered portlets. If you know that information beforehand, you can provide the required registration information in the producer configuration so that the Portal consumer can register with the remote producer when required.

Registration configuration is done via the <registration-data> element. Since JBoss Portal can generate the mandatory information for you, if the remote producer does not require any registration properties, you only need to provide an empty <registration-data> element. Values for the registration properties required by the remote producer can be provided via <property> elements. See the example below for more details. Additionally, you can override the default consumer name automatically provided by JBoss Portal via the <consumer-name> element. If you choose to provide a consumer name, please remember that this should uniquely identify your consumer.

Here is the configuration of the self producer as found in default-wsrp.xml with a cache expiring every five minutes:

Here is an example of a WSRP descriptor with a 2 minute caching time and manual definition of the endpoint URLs:

Here is an example of a WSRP descriptor with endpoint definition via remote WSDL file, registration data and cache expiring every minute:

Producers often offer several levels of service depending on consumers' subscription levels (for example). This is implemented at the WSRP level with the registration concept: producers assert which level of service to provide to consumers based on the values of given registration properties.

It is therefore sometimes necessary to modify the registration that concretizes the service agreement between a consumer and a producer. An example of easily available producer offering different level of services is BEA's public producer. We configured access to that producer in Section, “Using the configuration portlet”. If you recall, the producer was requiring registration and required a value to be provided for the registration/consumerRole property. The description of that property indicated that three values were possible: public, partner or insider each corresponding to a different service level. We registered using the public service level. This gave us access to three portlets as shown here:

Suppose now that we would like to upgrade our service level to the "insider" level. We will need to tell BEA's producer that our registration data has been modified. Let's see how to do this. Assuming you have configured access to the producer as previously described, please go to the configuration screen for the bea producer and modify the value of the registration/consumerRole to insider instead of public:

Now click on "Update properties" to save the change. A "Modify registration" button should now appear to let you send this new data to the remote producer:

Click on this new button and, if everything went well and your updated registration has been accepted by the remote producer, you should see something similar to:

You can now check the list of available portlets from the bea provider and verify that new portlets are now available:

It can also happen that a producer administrator decided to require more information from registered consumers. In this case, invoking operations on the producer will fail with an OperationFailedFault. JBoss Portal will attempt to help you in this situation. Let's walk through an example using the self producer. Let's assume that registration is required without any registration properties (as is the case by default). If you go to the configuration screen for this producer, you should see:

Now suppose that the administrator of the producer now requires a value to be provided for an email registration property. We will actually see how to do perform this operation in JBoss Portal when we examine how to configure Portal's producer in Section 15.8, “Configuring JBoss Portal's WSRP Producer”. Operations with this producer will now fail. If you suspect that a registration modification is required, you should go to the configuration screen for this remote producer and refresh the information held by the consumer by pressing "Refresh & Save":

As you can see, the configuration screen now shows the currently held registration information and the expected information from the producer. Enter a value for the email property and then click on "Modify registration". If all went well and the producer accepted your new registration data, you should see something similar to:


As of WSRP 1, it is rather difficult to ascertain for sure what caused an OperationFailedFault as it is the generic exception returned by producers if something didn't quite happen as expected during a method invocation. This means that OperationFailedFault can be caused by several different reasons, one of them being a request to modify the registration data. Please take a look at the log files to see if you can gather more information as to what happened. WSRP 2 introduces an exception that is specific to a request to modify registrations thus reducing the ambiguity that currently exists.

The default producer configuration is to require that consumers register with it before providing access its services but does not require any specific registration properties (apart from what is mandated by the WSRP standard). It does, however, require consumers to be registered before sending them a full service description. This means that our WSRP producer will not provide the list of offered portlets and other capabilities to unregistered consumers. The producer also uses the default RegistrationPolicy paired with the default RegistrationPropertyValidator. We will look into property validators in greater detail later in Section 15.8.3, “Registration configuration”. Suffice to say for now that this allows users to customize how Portal's WSRP Producer decides whether a given registration property is valid or not.

JBoss Portal 2.6.3 introduces a web interface to configure the producer's behavior. You can access it by clicking on the "Producer Configuration" tab of the "WSRP" page of the "admin" portal. Here's what you should see with the default configuration:

As would be expected, you can specify whether or not the producer will send the full service description to unregistered consumers, and, if it requires registration, which RegistrationPolicy to use (and, if needed, which RegistrationPropertyValidator), along with required registration property description for which consumers must provide acceptable values to successfully register.

In order to require consumers to register with Portal's producer before interacting with it, you need to configure Portal's behavior with respect to registration. Registration is optional, as are registration properties. The producer can require registration without requiring consumers to pass any registration properties as is the case in the default configuration. Let's configure our producer starting with a blank state:

We will allow unregistered consumers to see the list of offered portlets so we leave the first checkbox ("Access to full service description requires consumers to be registered.") unchecked. We will, however, specify that consumers will need to be registered to be able to interact with our producer. Check the second checkbox ("Requires registration. Modifying this information will trigger invalidation of consumer registrations."). The screen should now refresh and display:

You can specify the fully-qualified name for your RegistrationPolicy and RegistrationPropertyValidator there. We will keep the default value. See Section, “Customization of Registration handling behavior” for more details. Let's add, however, a registration property called email. Click "Add property" and enter the appropriate information in the fields, providing a description for the registration property that can be used by consumers to figure out its purpose:

Press "Save" to record your modifications.


At this time, only String (xsd:string) properties are supported. If your application requires more complex properties, please let us know.


If consumers are already registered with the producer, modifying the configuration of required registration information will trigger the invalidation of held registrations, requiring consumers to modify their registration before being able to access the producer again. We saw the consumer side of that process in Section, “Registration modification on producer error”.

Registration handling behavior can be customized by users to suit their Producer needs. This is accomplished by providing an implementation of the RegistrationPolicy interface. This interface defines methods that are called by Portal's Registration service so that decisions can be made appropriately. A default registration policy that provides basic behavior is provided and should be enough for most user needs.

While the default registration policy provides default behavior for most registration-related aspects, there is still one aspect that requires configuration: whether a given value for a registration property is acceptable by the WSRP Producer. This is accomplished by plugging a RegistrationPropertyValidator in the default registration policy. This allows users to define their own validation mechanism.

Please refer to the Javadoc™ for org.jboss.portal.registration.RegistrationPolicy and org.jboss.portal.Registration.policies.RegistrationPropertyValidator for more details on what is expected of each method.

Defining a registration policy is required for the producer to be correctly configured. This is accomplished by specifying the qualified class name of the registration policy. Since we anticipate that most users will use the default registration policy, it is possible to provide the class name of your custom property validator instead to customize the default registration policy behavior. Note that property validators are only used by the default policy.