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== Streaming (StAX) WS-Security support in Apache WSS4J™ 2.0.0
=== Overview of new features
WSS4J 2.0.0 introduces a streaming (StAX-based) WS-Security implementation to
complement the existing DOM-based implementation. The DOM-based implementation
is quite performant and flexible, but suffers from having to read the entire
XML tree into memory. For large SOAP requests this can have a detrimental
impact on performance. In addition, for web services stacks such as Apache CXF
which are streaming-based, it carries an additional performance penalty of
having to explicitly convert the request stream to a DOM Element.
The new StAX-based WS-Security implementation does not read the request into
memory, and hence uses far less memory for large requests. It is also more
performant in certain circumstances. The StAX-based code offers largely the
same functionality as that available as part of the DOM code, and is
configured in mostly the same way (via configuration tags that are shared
between both stacks). It does not offer the low-level API available in the DOM
code to individually construct various WS-Security tokens, but instead must be
used by specifying various actions to perform.
As of the time of writing, Apache CXF is the only web services stack to
integrate the new WS-Security streaming functionality. To switch to use the
streaming code for the manual "Action" based approach, simply change the
outbound and inbound interceptors as follows:
* "" to
* "" to
For the WS-SecurityPolicy based approach of configuring WS-Security, simply
set the JAX-WS property SecurityConstants.ENABLE_STREAMING_SECURITY
("ws-security.enable.streaming") to "true".
=== Limitations of the streaming WS-Security implementation
The new streaming implementation in WSS4J 2.0.0 meets the vast majority of the
most common use-cases. However, it does not support everything that the DOM
implementation supports. The limitations are:
* XPath evaluation is not supported apart from certain simple expressions.
XPath evaluations are used with WS-SecurityPolicy RequiredElements,
SignedElements, (Content)EncryptedElements. XPath expressions that point
directly to the element are supported, e.g. /soap:Envelope/soap:Header/wsa:To.
See WSS-445.
* WS-SecurityPolicy "Strict" Layout validation is not enforced. This includes
enforcing whether a Timestamp is first or last. See WSS-444.
* A SymmetricBinding policy with a ProtectTokens assertion is not supported.
See WSS-456.
* The combination of EncryptBeforeSigning + EncryptSignature policies are not
supported. See WSS-464.
* Deriving keys from Username Tokens (Endorsing Username Tokens) are not
* Endorsing tokens don't work with Symmetric + Asymmetric binding on the
client side, unless the endorsing token is a SAML or IssuedToken.
* Derived Endorsing Tokens are not supported on the client side.