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WSDL 1.1 Element Identifiers

W3C Working Draft 30 March 2007

This version:
Latest version:
David Orchard, BEA Systems
Asir S Vedamuthu, Microsoft Corporation
Frederick Hirsch, Nokia
Maryann Hondo, IBM Corporation
Prasad Yendluri, webMethods, Inc.
Toufic Boubez, Layer 7 Technologies
Ümit Yalçinalp, SAP AG.

This document is also available in these non-normative formats: PDF, PostScript, XML, and plain text.


WSDL 1.1 Element Identifiers defines a syntax to identify individual elements in a WSDL 1.1 document.

Status of this Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at

This is an updated Working Draft of the the WSDL 1.1 Element Identifiers specification. It was produced by the members of the Web Services Policy Working Group, which is part of the W3C Web Services Activity. The Working Group expects to advance this Working Draft to Working Group Note Status.

A list of changes in this version of the document and a diff-marked version against the previous version of this document are available. Major changes in this version of the document encompass a change of the syntax of some element identifiers and the removal of element identifiers for element declarations and type definitions.

The Working Group solicits especially feedback on the fact that element identifiers are not defined by element declarations and type definitions, since the presence of schema imports and includes makes associating type definitions with a particular WSDL document, and thus with a particular target namespace, problematic. See issue 4332 for more information.

Discussion of this document takes place on the public mailing list (public archive) and within Bugzilla. Comments on this specification should be made following the Description for Issues of the Working Group.

Publication as a Working Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. The group does not expect this document to become a W3C Recommendation. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
    1.1 Notational Conventions
2. Fragment Identifiers
3. IRI-References for WSDL 1.1 Elements
    3.1 WSDL 1.1 IRIs
    3.2 IRI Identification Of SOAP Binding elements
    3.3 Canonical Form for WSDL 1.1 element identifiers
    3.4 Example
4. References
    4.1 Normative References


A. Change Log (Non-Normative)

1. Introduction

This document defines an element identifier syntax for WSDL 1.1 elements.

1.1 Notational Conventions

The keywords "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [[RFC 2119]].

With the exception of examples and sections explicitly marked as "Non-Normative", all parts of this specification are normative.

2. Fragment Identifiers

This section defines a fragment identifier syntax for identifying elements of a WSDL 1.1 document. This fragment identifier syntax is compliant with the [[XPointer Framework]]. This document is primarily based upon [[WSDL 2.0 Core]]. There is a substantial difference between the WSDL 1.1 and WSDL 2.0 fragment identifiers.WSDL 2.0 defines fragment identifiers with respect to the WSDL 2.0 component model, whereas WSDL 1.1 defines XML element and attribute syntax only. Because there is no WSDL 1.1 component model, the WSDL 1.1 fragment identifiers identifyare to the WSDL 1.1 elements. Note: the fragment identifers identifyare to the WSDL 1.1 elements prior to any processing of the WSDL document, such as validation, inclusion, imports, schema type validation, etc. Note further: WSDL 1.1 fragment identifiers require a targetNamespace so WSDL 1.1 documents without a targetNamespace will not have fragment identifiers.

A WSDL 1.1 fragment identifier is an XPointer [[XPointer Framework]], augmented with WSDL 1.1 pointer parts as defined below. Note that many of these parts require the pre-appearance of one or more xmlns pointer parts (see 3.4 Namespace Binding Context in [[XPointer Framework]]). The pointer parts have a scheme name that corresponds to one of the standard WSDL 1.1 element names, and scheme data that is a path composed of names that identify the elements. The scheme names all begin with the prefix "wsdl11." to avoid name conflicts with other schemes. The names in the path are of type either QName, NCName, IRI, URI, or Pointer Part depending on the context. The scheme data for WSDL 1.1 extension elements is defined by the corresponding extension specification.

For QNames, any prefix MUST be defined by a preceding xmlns pointer part. If a QName does not have a prefix then its namespace name is the target namespace of the WSDL 1.1 document.

The fragment identifier is typically constructed from the name property of the element and the name properties of its ancestors as a path according to Table 2-1. The first column of this table gives the name of the WSDL 1.1 element. Columns labeled 1 through 3 specify the identifiers that uniquely identify the element within its context. Identifiers are typically formed from the name property, although in several cases references to other elements are used. These identifiers are then used to construct the pointer part in the last column. The fragment identifier in a WSDL 1.1 element IRI-reference MUST resolve to some element as defined by the construction rules in Table 2-1.

Table 2-1. Rules for determining pointer parts for WSDL 1.1 elements
element123Pointer Part
MessageType Definitionmessage NCNameQName n/an/awsdl11.message(message)
Message Partmessage NCNameQName
portTypeportType NCName n/an/awsdl11.portType(portType)
portType OperationportType NCNameoperation NCNamen/awsdl11.portTypeOperation(portType/operation)
portType Operation InputportType NCName
portType Operation OutputportType NCNameoperation NCNamen/awsdl11.portTypeOperation.output(portType/operation)
portType Operation FaultportType NCNameoperation NCNamefault NCNamewsdl11.portTypeOperation.fault(portType/operation/fault)
BindingportType Operation Faultbinding NCNamen/aoperation NCNamen/afault QNamewsdl11.binding(binding)
Binding Operationbinding NCName
Binding Operation Inputbinding NCNameoperation QNamena/wsdl11.bindingOperation.input(binding/operation)
Binding Operation Outputbinding NCNameoperation QNamena/message NCNamewsdl11.bindingOperation.output(binding/operation)
Binding Operation Faultbinding NCNameoperation QNamefault NCNamewsdl11.bindingOperation.fault(binding/operation/fault)
Serviceservice NCNamen/an/awsdl11.service(service)
portservice NCNameport NCNamen/awsdl11.port(service/port)
Extensionsnamespace URIidentifier extension-specific-syntaxn/awsdl11.extension(namespace,identifier)

3. IRI-References for WSDL 1.1 Elements

This section provides a syntax for IRI-references for all elements found in a [[WSDL 1.1]] document. The IRI-references are easy to understand and compare, while imposing no burden on the WSDL 1.1 author.

3.1 WSDL 1.1 IRIs

There are two main cases for WSDL 1.1 IRIs:

  • the IRI of a WSDL 1.1 document

  • the IRI of a WSDL 1.1 namespace

The IRI of a WSDL 1.1 document can be dereferenced to give a resource representation that contributes elements to a single WSDL 1.1 namespace. If the media type is set to the WSDL 1.1 media type i.e. application/xml, then the fragment identifiers can be used to identify the main elements that are defined in the document.

In keeping with WSDL 1.1, which has a recommendation that that the namespace URI be dereferencible to a WSDL 1.1 document, this section specifies the use of the namespace IRI with the WSDL 1.1 fragment identifiers to form an IRI-reference.

The IRI in an IRI-reference for a WSDL 1.1 element is the namespace name of the name property of either the element itself, in the case of portType , Binding , and Service elements, or the name property of the ancestor top-level element. The IRI provided by the namespace name of the name property is combined with a zero or more xmlns pointer parts (see 3.4 Namespace Binding Context in [[XPointer Framework]] ) followed by a single WSDL 1.1 pointer part, following the same rules as defined for WSDL 1.1 fragment ids 2. Fragment Identifiers .

3.2 IRI Identification Of SOAP Binding elements

SOAP Binding elements (binding, operation, body, header, fault, headerfault, and address) can be identified using the wsdl11.extension XPointer Framework scheme according to the following rules:

wsdl11.extension(, w11soap.binding(parent)), where:

  • parent is the pointer part of the SOAP Binding's parent element

wsdl11.extension(, w11soap.operation(parent))

  • parent is the pointer part of the SOAP Operation's parent element

wsdl11.extension(, w11soap.body(parent))

  • parent is the pointer part of the SOAP Body's parent element

wsdl11.extension(, w11soap.header(parent))

  • parent is the pointer part of the SOAP Header's parent element

wsdl11.extension(, w11soap.headerfault(parent))

  • parent is the pointer part of the SOAP HeaderFault's parent element

wsdl11.extension(, w11soap.fault(parent))

  • parent is the pointer part of the SOAP Fault's parent element

wsdl11.extension(, w11soap.address(parent))

  • parent is the pointer part of the SOAP Address's parent element

3.3 Canonical Form for WSDL 1.1 element identifiers

The IRI-references described above MAY be used as WSDL 1.1 element identifiers. For ease of comparison, the fragment identifier of WSDL 1.1 element identifiers SHOULD conform to the following canonicalization rules:

  • The fragment identifier consists of a sequence zero or more xmlns() pointer parts followed by exactly one wsd11.*() pointer part.

  • Each xmlns() pointer part that appears in the fragment identifier defines a namespace that is referenced by the wsd11.*() pointer part.

  • Each xmlns() pointer part defines a unique namespace.

  • The xmlns() pointer parts define namespaces in the same order as they are referenced in the wsd11.*() pointer part.

  • The namespace prefixes defined by the xmlns() pointer parts are named ns1 , ns2 , etc., in the order of their appearance.

  • The fragment identifier contains no optional whitespace.

3.4 Example

Consider WSDL 1.1 document located at Each WSDL 1.1 Element Identifier is shown in comments above the WSDL 1.1 element

Example 3-1. IRI-References - Example WSDL 1.1 Document

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> 

<wsdl:definitions targetNamespace=""

    <!-- -->

        <xs:schema xmlns:xsTicketAgent=""
            <xs:element name="listFlightsRequest" type="xsTicketAgent:tListFlights"/>
            <xs:complexType name="tListFlights">
                    <xs:element name="travelDate" type="xs:date"/>
                    <xs:element name="startCity" type="xs:string"/>
                    <xs:element name="endCity" type="xs:string"/>
            <xs:element name="listFlightsResponse" type="xsTicketAgent:tFlightsResponse"/>
            <xs:complexType name="tFlightsResponse">
                    <xs:element name="flightNumber" type="xs:integer" minOccurs="0"

    <wsdl:message name="listFlightsRequest">
        <!-- Starting from here, will be shortened to http://... -->
        <!-- http://...#wsdl11.message(listFlightsRequest) -->
        <wsdl:part name="body" element="xsTicketAgent:listFlightsRequest"/>
        <!-- http://...#wsdl11.messagePart(listFlightsRequest/body) -->

    <wsdl:message name="listFlightsResponse">
        <!-- http://...#wsdl11.message(listFlightsResponse) -->
        <wsdl:part name="body" element="xsTicketAgent:listFlightsResponse"/>
        <!-- http://...#wsdl11.messagePart(listFlightsResponse/body) -->

    <wsdl:portType name="TicketAgent">
        <!-- http://...#wsdl11.portType(TicketAgent) -->
        <wsdl:operation name="listFlights">
            <!-- http://...#wsdl11.portTypeOperation(TicketAgent/listFlights) -->
            <wsdl:input message="tns:listFlightsRequest"/>
            <!-- http://...#wsdl11.portTypeOperation.input(TicketAgent/listFlights) -->
            <wsdl:output message="tns:listFlightsResponse"/>
            <!-- http://...#wsdl11.portTypeOperation.output(TicketAgent/listFlights) -->

    <wsdl:binding name="TicketAgentSoap" type="tns:TicketAgent">
        <!-- http://...#wsdl11.binding(TicketAgentSoap) -->
        <soap:binding style="document" transport=""/>
        <!-- http://...#wsdl11.extension(, 
             w11soap.binding( wsdl11.binding(TicketAgentSoap)) -->
        <wsdl:operation name="listFlights">
            <!-- http://...#wsdl11.bindingOperation(TicketAgentSoap/listFlights) -->
                <!-- http://...#wsdl11.bindingOperation.input(TicketAgentSoap/listFlights) -->
                <soap:body parts="body" use="literal"/>
                <!-- http://...#wsdl11.extension(, 
                                           (TicketAgentSoap/listFlights)) -->
                <!-- http://...#wsdl11.bindingOperation.output(TicketAgentSoap/listFlights) -->
                <soap:body parts="body" use="literal"/>
                <!-- http://...#wsdl11.extension(, 
                                           (TicketAgentSoap/listFlights)) -->


4. References

4.1 Normative References

[RFC 3023]
IETF "RFC 3023: XML Media Types", M. Murata, S. St. Laurent, D. Kohn, July 1998. (See
[WSDL 2.0 Core]
Web Services definitions Language (WSDL) Version 2.0 Part 1: Core Language , R. Chinnici, J-J. Moreau, A. Ryman, S. Weerawarana, Editors. W3C Candidate Recommendation 27 March 2006. The current version of Web Services definitions Language (WSDL) Version 2.0 Part 1: Core Language is available at . The latest version of "Web Services definitions Language (WSDL) Version 2.0 Part 1: Core Language" is available at (See
[WSDL 1.1]
Web Services definitions Language (WSDL) 1.1, E. Christensen, F. Curbera, G. Meredith, and S. Weerawarana, Authors. W3C Note 15 March 2002. The current version of Web Services Description Language (WSDL) 1.1 is available at . The latest version of Web Services definitions Language 1.1 is available at (See
[XPointer Framework]
XPointer Framework,Paul Grosso, Eve Maler, Jonathan Marsh, Norman Walsh, Editors. W3C Recommendation 25 March 2003. The current version of XPointer Framework is available at . The latest version of XPointer Framework is available at (See
[RFC 2119]
IETF "RFC 2119: Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", S. Bradner, March 1997. (See
[RFC 3986]
IETF "RFC 3986: Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax", T. Berners-Lee, R. Fielding, L. Masinter, January 2005. (See

A. Change Log (Non-Normative)

Table A-1. Changes
DBO20061108Initial Revision
DBO20061212Uncommented canonical section, fixed editorial items
DBO20070122Resolution of bug 4208, AI is 145
FS20070127Editorial fixes for publication preparation
DBO20070219Changed MessageReference to .input and .output, resolution of bug 4251, AI is 150
DBO20070308Added note about targetnamespace being required. 4331, AI is 177
DBO20070308Removed Schema element and type defs. 4332, AI is 178