The Java EE 5 Tutorial

Retrieving Fault Information

Just as the SOAPFault interface provides convenience methods for adding information, it also provides convenience methods for retrieving that information. The following code fragment shows what you might write to retrieve fault information from a message you received. In the code fragment, newMessage is the SOAPMessage object that has been sent to you. Because a SOAPFault object must be part of the SOAPBody object, the first step is to access the SOAPBody object. Then the code tests to see whether the SOAPBody object contains a SOAPFault object. If it does, the code retrieves the SOAPFault object and uses it to retrieve its contents. The convenience methods getFaultCode, getFaultString, and getFaultActor make retrieving the values very easy.

SOAPBody body = newMessage.getSOAPBody();
if ( body.hasFault() ) {
    SOAPFault newFault = body.getFault();
    QName code = newFault.getFaultCodeAsQName();
    String string = newFault.getFaultString();
    String actor = newFault.getFaultActor();

To retrieve subcodes from a SOAP 1.2 fault, call the method newFault.getFaultSubcodes.

Next the code prints the values it has just retrieved. Not all messages are required to have a fault actor, so the code tests to see whether there is one. Testing whether the variable actor is null works because the method getFaultActor returns null if a fault actor has not been set.

    System.out.println("SOAP fault contains: ");
    System.out.println("  Fault code = " + code.toString());
    System.out.println("  Local name = " + code.getLocalPart());
    System.out.println("  Namespace prefix = " +
        code.getPrefix() + ", bound to " + code.getNamespaceURI());
    System.out.println("  Fault string = " + string);

    if ( actor != null ) {
        System.out.println("  Fault actor = " + actor);

The final task is to retrieve the Detail object and get its DetailEntry objects. The code uses the SOAPFault object newFault to retrieve the Detail object newDetail, and then it uses newDetail to call the method getDetailEntries. This method returns the java.util.Iterator object entries, which contains all the DetailEntry objects in newDetail. Not all SOAPFault objects are required to have a Detail object, so the code tests to see whether newDetail is null. If it is not, the code prints the values of the DetailEntry objects as long as there are any.

Detail newDetail = newFault.getDetail();
if (newDetail != null) {
    Iterator entries = newDetail.getDetailEntries();
    while ( entries.hasNext() ) {
        DetailEntry newEntry = (DetailEntry);
        String value = newEntry.getValue();
        System.out.println("  Detail entry = " + value);

In summary, you have seen how to add a SOAPFault object and its contents to a message as well as how to retrieve the contents. A SOAPFault object, which is optional, is added to the SOAPBody object to convey status or error information. It must always have a fault code and a String explanation of the fault. A SOAPFault object must indicate the actor that is the source of the fault only when there are multiple actors; otherwise, it is optional. Similarly, the SOAPFault object must contain a Detail object with one or more DetailEntry objects only when the contents of the SOAPBody object could not be processed successfully.

See SOAP Fault Example for an example that uses code like that shown in this section.