Using CXF Interceptors to do some magic around your web service calls [1105]

We use JBossWS CXF for a heavily utilised enterprise system. It links into spring to pick up and execute beans. We have a bunch of exceptions that could get thrown.

To simplify it, the code was originally written to create an anonymous class a la Runnable which is wrapped around a try catch block. The exceptions that are thrown are then converted to a soap fault and passed back.

	private SOAPFaultException convertToSoapException(ApplicationException e)
		try {
			if(null == soapFactory) {
				soapFactory = SOAPFactory.newInstance();
			SOAPFault sf = soapFactory.createFault();
			sf.setFaultString( e.getMessage() );
			sf.setFaultCode( Integer.toString(e.getErrorCode()) );
			return new SOAPFaultException( sf );
		} catch(SOAPException soapException) {
			throw new RuntimeException( soapException );

Nothing inherently wrong with this. However, there are a couple of issues with this in that each soap method is set to throw an ApplicationException and there is not further documentation of which of the subclasses are actually relevant to that method.

In a runtime environment, this is not hugely relevant. However, when generating documentation from the WSDL’s, it is.

To resolve this, we changed each method to throw their relevant exception, and wrote an interceptor to pick up the exception and convert it…

The first step was to write an interceptor which is surprisingly simple and straightforward.

public class ExampleSoapFaultInterceptor extends AbstractSoapInterceptor {

	Logger log = Logger.getLogger(getClass());

    public QuarkSoapFaultInterceptor() {

	public void handleMessage(SoapMessage message) throws Fault {
        Fault f = (Fault) message.getContent(Exception.class);

        Throwable cause = f.getCause();
        if (cause instanceof ApplicationException) {"Exception Thrown", cause);
        	QuarkException e = (QuarkException) cause;
        	f.setFaultCode(new QName("", String.valueOf(e.getErrorCode())));

        } else {
        	log.warn("Unexpected Exception thrown ", cause);


The class doesn’t need to extend the AbstractSoapInterceptor but you would then have to manually implement a number of mechanisms that the abstract class provides.

The constructor simply defines where this interceptor should be inserted into as part of the chain. There is a whole bunch of different places where it can be inserted based on this. Information can be found in their documentation.

To insert this interceptor into a web service, the service needs to be annotated as follows:

@WebService(endpointInterface = "")
@OutFaultInterceptors(interceptors= {""})
public class ExampleWebService implements ExampleAPI {

Each exception thrown from the web service will now be intercepted. You can then include any further further information in the soap fault.

In this particular case, the only thing that gets done is to update the fault code with the error code set against the exception. Any additional information can be set against the soap fault at this point. You can also log as we are doing.

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