We've just added some functionality to the ESB in support of making invocations on external Webservice Endpoints from within the ESB. This functionality is available right now from SVN and will be officially released in the 4.2GA release (July '07).
The main feature is the ability to construct SOAP requests and consume SOAP responses without having to generate proxy code. All that's required is configuration of the “SOAPClient” action class, specifying the location of the Endpoint WSDL and the name of the operation to be invoked.
Get all the details about the SOAPClient action from the WIKI.
This functionality is very important because it supports SOAP unaware endpoints making invocations on SOAP endpoints. This is only half of the new Webservices functionality being added for 4.2GA. We're also adding functionality to support exposing Webservice interfaces for Webservice unaware endpoints. Milestone Release 2 (MR2) of JBossESB 4.2 prototyped this functionality in the JBossWSAdapter action class. We are about to rework and enhance parts of that prototype for the GA release. More on this later.
With both of these pieces of functionality in place for 4.2GA, not only do we have strong support for Webservices in general, but we also open the door to supporting WS-BPEL style orchestration of Webservice unaware Services through the ESB. To this end, JBoss has partnered with Active Endpoints. Active Endpoints have developed a 1st Class WS-BPEL Engine called ActiveBPEL.
To see how well JBossESB and ActiveBPEL work together, see the flash demos available on the ESB labs pages.