[Q&A Friday] Can an external web service call be included in an automation chain?

Fri 22 February 2013 By Laurent Doguin

Can an external web service call be included in an automation chain? Can an external web service call be included in an automation chain?

Here's a common question: Can an external web service call be included in an automation chain?

There are many uses cases to this. You may want to integrate with an existing application or simply retrieve some metadata from a single web service. This can be a good way to enrich metadata about a specific kind of document. Let's say, for instance, that you are managing a book collection in Nuxeo. Every book as an ID called ISBN, which stands for International Standard Book Number. It's a unique numeric commercial book identifier. Using this ID, you can retrieve more information about the book. The openlibrary.org website has a REST API that gives you information from an ISBN. So, all you have to do to use this in an automation chain is to create an operation that makes a call to this API. As Vlad answered, we have some documentation for building a SOAP-based WebService client in Nuxeo.

Here is an example for a REST client; the complete sample is available on GitHub.

* (C) Copyright 2012 Nuxeo SA (http://nuxeo.com/) and others.
* All rights reserved. This program and the accompanying materials
* are made available under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License
* (LGPL) version 2.1 which accompanies this distribution, and is available at
* http://www.gnu.org/licenses/lgpl-2.1.html
* This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
* but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
* Lesser General Public License for more details.
* Contributors:
* ldoguin

package org.nuxeo.isbn;

import java.io.BufferedReader;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.InputStreamReader;
import java.net.MalformedURLException;
import java.net.URL;

import org.json.JSONException;
import org.json.JSONObject;
import org.nuxeo.ecm.automation.core.Constants;
import org.nuxeo.ecm.automation.core.annotations.Operation;
import org.nuxeo.ecm.automation.core.annotations.OperationMethod;
import org.nuxeo.ecm.automation.core.collectors.DocumentModelCollector;
import org.nuxeo.ecm.core.api.ClientException;
import org.nuxeo.ecm.core.api.DocumentModel;
import org.nuxeo.ecm.core.api.model.PropertyException;

import sun.net.www.protocol.http.HttpURLConnection;

* @author ldoguin
@Operation(id = ISBNQuery.ID, category = Constants.CAT_DOCUMENT, label = "ISBNQuery", description = "")
public class ISBNQuery {

public static final String ID = "ISBNQuery";

public static final String QUERY_ISBN_URL = "http://openlibrary.org/api/books?bibkeys=%s&format=json";

@OperationMethod(collector = DocumentModelCollector.class)
public DocumentModel run(DocumentModel input) throws MalformedURLException,
PropertyException, ClientException, JSONException {
String isbn = input.getProperty("isbn:isbn").getValue(String.class);
isbn = "ISBN:".concat(isbn);
String query = String.format(QUERY_ISBN_URL, isbn);
URL url = new URL(query);
HttpURLConnection urlConnection = null;
try {
urlConnection = (HttpURLConnection) url.openConnection();
BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(
StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer();
String inputLine;
while ((inputLine = in.readLine()) != null) {
JSONObject jso = new JSONObject(sb.toString());
JSONObject metadata = jso.getJSONObject(isbn);
String bib_key = metadata.getString("bib_key");
if (bib_key != null) {
input.setPropertyValue("isbn:bib_key", bib_key);
String info_url = metadata.getString("info_url");
if (info_url != null) {
input.setPropertyValue("isbn:info_url", info_url);
String preview = metadata.getString("preview");
if (preview != null) {
input.setPropertyValue("isbn:preview", preview);
String preview_url = metadata.getString("preview_url");
if (preview_key != null) {
input.setPropertyValue("isbn:preview_url", preview_url);
String thumbnail_url = metadata.getString("thumbnail_url");
if (thumbnail_url != null) {
input.setPropertyValue("isbn:thumbnail_url", thumbnail_url);
} catch (IOException e) {
throw new RuntimeException(e);
} finally {
if (urlConnection != null) {

return input;

Category: Product & Development
Tagged: How to, Nuxeo Platform, Q&A