DataPower: The Interoperability Test Service

Hate having to create an XML Firewall service configured as loopback every time you want to test a single stylesheet using DataPower extension functions? Well, you may have more options available to you…

Since version 5.0, IBM released a capability called Interoperability Test Service (IOP). One of the features this mode supports is the ability to listen to requests containing a stylesheet file along with its equivalent request, then it processes the instructions present on the stylesheet against its request, and finally sends the output of the stylesheet back as the result.

To use the IOP, you first need to enable the service at Objects > Device Management > Interoperability Test Service.

For the second step, you will need a client to send requests to the service you have just enabled. IBM thinking about on making our lives easier, made available two clients that can be found at Resource Kit 5.0.

After downloading it, just extract it to your local file system, and then refer to the files DPInteropClient.jar or dp-interop-client.sh (depending on your preference, operating, system, etc).

The Resource Kit 5.0 comes with some samples that can be used for testing. The first scenario we will cover here will be the conversion of an XML file into the base 64 by using the dp:encode extension function:

The XML message to be converted to base 64
$ cat message.xml
<msg>Hello World!</msg>

The XSLT used to encode the message into base 64
$ cat toBase64.xsl
<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" 

  <xsl:template match="/">
    <xsl:value-of select="dp:encode(., 'base-64')"/>

The IOP client sending both the XSLT and message to be encoded along with the result from DataPower:
$ ../../clients/dp-interop-client.sh -x toBase64.xsl -i message.xml -h [dphostname] -p [port]
>> Creating the XSLT request...
>> Sending the request to http://dphostname:port/
>> No basic authentication is provided.

Another interesting feature available is the ability to test XPath syntaxes. For example, take into account the following XML (not included in the Resource Kit):

$ cat bookstore.xml 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<book category="COOKING">
<title lang="en">Everyday Italian</title>
<author>Giada De Laurentiis</author>
<book category="CHILDREN">
<title lang="en">Harry Potter</title>
<author>J K. Rowling</author>
<book category="WEB">
<title lang="en">XQuery Kick Start</title>
<author>James McGovern</author>
<author>Per Bothner</author>
<author>Kurt Cagle</author>
<author>James Linn</author>
<author>Vaidyanathan Nagarajan</author>
<book category="WEB">
<title lang="en">Learning XML</title>
<author>Erik T. Ray</author>

Now use the following XPath expression against it (this expression will select the title and price of all books on the category "WEB" that are priced above 39.95:

/bookstore/book[@category=\"WEB\" and price>39.95]/(title|price)

To apply the above XPath expression to the IOP client command, use the following:

$ ../../clients/dp-interop-client.sh -t xpath -e "/bookstore/book[@category=\"WEB\" and price>39.95]/(title|price)" -i bookstore.xml -h [dphostname] -p [port]
>> Creating the XPath request...
>> Sending the request to http://dphostname:port/
>> No basic authentication is provided.
Found 2 nodes:
-- NODE --
<title lang="en">XQuery Kick Start</title>
-- NODE --

Cool, huh?

Besides XSLT and XPath testing, you can also use this tool to test FFD requests and perform schema validation. For more details, refer to the Interoperability Test Service page at the DataPower Information Center.

I remember that in the past, there used to be a DataPower plugin for Eclipse that enabled you to do practically the same stuff, but for some reason I think it was discontinued by IBM. Have you ever heard of it? Had a chance to use it? How do you compare it with this new method available?

DataPower: No more XG45, XI52, XB62 and XI50B

You read it correctly folks, as of November 21st, 2014, there will be no more DataPower Service Gateway XG45, no more DataPower Integration Appliance XI52, and no more DataPower B2B Appliance XB62. No reason to be scared though, even with that scary headline I put on purpose (I am sorry about that).

As usual, every October IBM releases some news regarding the next firmware version that becomes available every November. This time IBM announced the firmware version 7.1 and with it, its intention to unify the family of appliances into a single product, the IBM DataPower Gateway.

The IBM DataPower Gateway will come equipped with the same functions the current XG45 comes with. If advanced functions are needed, such as B2B features available only on the current XB62, a software module can be installed to satisfy the requirement.

This is actually good news for companies that already have XG45 and/or XI52 appliances and were planning to acquire more appliances to support B2B functions. With the version 7.1, it will now be possible to install the new software module on the current appliances and take advantage of the B2B functions previously available only on the XB62 appliances.

The DataPower family of appliances is downsizing again, in both models and colors (remember the good times?). From the green XA35, the yellow XS40, the blue XI50, the purple XB60, and the silver XM70, passing through the XG45, XI52, XB62, all black, to only one Gateway Appliance now (color TBD, but I can bet it will be black as well). In spite of that, no feature was left behind, every thing that could be done a few years back can still be done on the current offerings, and that is what really matters for us, DataPower lovers.

Please refer to the official IBM Announcement describing the new offerings in details.