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From "Hansen, Richard" <>
Subject Notes on Axis fault handling
Date Fri, 15 Aug 2003 16:41:58 GMT
Axis fault handling is essentialy undocumented, at least anywhere I could
find. I spent the better part of the last two days experimenting so I could
understand how to properly do some error handling. This seems like an
important thing, and seems to generate quite a few email, so to save others
some work I thought I would share my notes.

I am hoping an axis developer will review this and offer any needed
corrections. PErhpas this could be incorporated into the docs somehow. I
suppose I could add this to the wiki, but the docs could still use more

I have also attached a zip files with two samples. One is a beefed up copy
of the sample/faults example included in r1.1. The other is a full blown
example of using service specific exceptions, with a wsdl file and
everything. It parallels the original example. This may be useful and could
even be added to the current examples.

Rick Hansen

Axis fault handling notes:

- For all practical purposes a client programmer can treat Axis as if it
only throws org.apache.axis.AxisFault exceptions. 
- Axis does not throw javax.xml.rpc.soap.SOAPFaultException. Axis never
creates a SOAPFaultException itself. However, since SOAPFaultException is
unchecked, one could leak through if thrown by a handler or service
- The invoke methods that are likely to be called by a client programmer
(the ones inherited from javax.xml.rpc.Call) return either a service
specific exception or org.apache.axis.AxisFault. 
- A service implementation can throw any type of exception.
- Axis faults thrown by a service implementation are returned to the client
just as thrown. 
- A non AxisFault thrown by a service implementation but not configured as a
service specific exception will be wrapped in an AxisFault on the client. A
faultCode of Server.userException and a local stack trace will be included
in the Axisfault. This is not the most useful thing that could happen as it
tends to hide the source/cause of the exception. The fault string included
represents the original exception.
- Axis must be configured to handle service specific exceptions and recreate
them on the client. 
- Service specific exceptions can can be configured using either parameters
in the wsdd deployment file or using calls to
org.apache.axis.description.OperationDesc in the service stubs and
- Service specific exceptions must subclass org.apache.axis.AxisFault. 
- The WSDL to Java tools will create service specific exceptions that are
defined in a wsdl file and create the required configuration code in the
stubs and skeletons generated.

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