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What is Web Application Description Language (WADL)?

What is Web Application Description Language (WADL)?

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Key Takeaway

In this article, we will explore the background, benefits, implementations, and comparison between WSDL and WADL. We will also discuss how WADL works in RESTful services. So if you’re looking for insights on how to create powerful web services using WADL, this article is for you!

WADL stands for Web Application Description Language and it’s an XML-based language used to describe the capabilities of a web service. It was created to provide a standard way of describing web services and their operations, similar to the way WSDL defines SOAP services. With WADL, developers can create a machine-readable definition of a web service and its operations, which can be used to construct client applications that interact with the web service. 

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) defines the WADL specification, and it’s an open standard that can be used by any program capable of consuming XML documents. This makes it possible for developers to use WADL in their development projects regardless of which programming language they are using or what platform they’re building on. 

In addition to providing a machine-readable definition of a web service, WADL also offers other advantages over traditional approaches such as SOAP or RESTful services. For example, because all data is encoded as XML, it makes it easier for developers to structure their code around this format for faster development times and greater consistency across different types of software projects. Furthermore, since it’s an open standard, developers don’t have to worry about being locked into proprietary formats or APIs when creating their client applications – allowing them more freedom in designing the best solution for their project requirements. 

Benefits of using WADL

When it comes to web development, WADL is an incredibly useful tool that allows developers to rapidly create effective and efficient applications. With its straightforward syntax, the language is easily understood by newcomers and experienced developers alike. Furthermore, its extensible nature enables customization of the language so it can be tailored to fit any project needs. 

Not only does WADL enable developers to quickly compare and contrast different versions of web services, but it also provides an alternative approach compared to other standards like SOAP or RESTful services – no extra coding is required after writing the description nor are complex configurations needed before use. Consequently, developers have more time to focus on building effective client applications that can seamlessly integrate with existing systems. 

The convenience of WADL makes it popular among developers who are looking for an efficient way to document their web services in a machine-readable format. By using this language, they can quickly build dynamic interfaces and provide clients with a superior user experience when interacting with their web service. Additionally, thanks to its flexibility, changes within the language can be made at any point during development in order to meet any specific requirements that may arise during production of an application. 

Creating a WADL document

Creating a WADL document is a relatively straightforward process that can be accomplished with minimal effort. The first step to creating a WADL document is to write the XML structure and syntax, which should include root elements such as , , and . It is important to ensure that the XML structure and syntax are valid, as this will determine whether or not it can be understood by clients. 

Once the XML structure and syntax have been written, elements must be added to the document in order for it to be accepted by clients. These elements include information about the web service operations, such as parameters used in requests or responses, request formats, response formats, and HTTP methods used for communication between client apps and the web service. It is also necessary to add documentation about each operation included in the application – this will provide an easier way for developers to understand how the web service works. 

Finally, once all of these elements have been added into the WADL document, it needs to be validated against an appropriate XSD file. This validation ensures that all of the data included in the document complies with predetermined standards set by clients. If any errors are encountered during validation, they must be corrected before continuing on with development. 

By following these steps when creating a WADL document, developers can ensure that their applications run smoothly and efficiently when interacting with web services within their system architecture. This approach helps reduce development time while at the same time providing more consistency across different types of software projects.


WSDL and WADL are both XML-based languages used to describe the capabilities of web services. While WSDL is typically used to describe SOAP-based web services, WADL is usually used to describe RESTful services and their associated parameters. Compared to WSDL, which describes the structure of a SOAP API, WADL can be used to describe the structure of a RESTful API. 

One of the major differences between WSDL and WADL is with regard to language; while WSDL uses XML as its primary language for describing web services, WADL uses JSON instead. This has implications in terms of how developers construct their applications, as well as how they approach security features such as authentication and authorization. Additionally, while both standards offer similar levels of functionality for describing web service operations, they differ in terms of syntax and data structures. 

Ultimately, when it comes to deciding between WSDL or WADL for your application development needs, you should consider your project’s requirements carefully before making a decision. As different considerations such as language (XML vs JSON) and security features come into play when designing an application, you should choose which standard best meets your needs accordingly. Regardless of which one you choose though, both standards are powerful tools that can be used to quickly generate code for client-side or server-side applications with minimal effort required from the developer.

Implementations of WADL

WADL is being used in a variety of ways today by developers across different platforms. Popular frameworks have begun to support WADL, such as Apache CXF, Apache Axis2, and Apache Wink. These frameworks provide developers with the ability to quickly generate client-side code in languages such as Java or JavaScript. Additionally, WADL has seen limited support in the.NET platform and complete support in Oracle Application Server 10g and IBM WebSphere 7.

Using WADL for generating code can be an efficient way to build web services that are both secure and reliable. It eliminates the need for developers to manually create code from scratch; instead, they can use the WADL file to generate client-side code more quickly and accurately. Furthermore, it helps promote consistency across different types of software projects, as developers will be able to access a document that describes the web service’s capabilities without having to learn its underlying technologies or protocols.

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