WCF - Part 1: Introduction & Service ABC
WCF brings all the formerly distinct and separate Microsoft connectivity technologies together under a single umbrella within the System.ServiceModel namespace. Web services (ASMX), the Web service Extensions (WS*), Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ), Enterprise Services, COM+, and .NET Remoting are included in WCF. With WCF you won't have to choose between implementations in a variety of different namespaces and coding types to create a connected application. Whether your application connects via loosely coupled Web services, or tightly coupled Enterprise Services, the coding model will be consistent and the transition between different communication types will be much smoother—because they will all be using the same programming namespace. WCF follows the "software as a service" model, where all units of functionality are defined as services.
Before start working with WCF the developer should identify three major points:
- Address: WCF services must have an address. The address specifies the location of the service which will be exposed for clients that will use it to communicate with the service. The address's protocol that WCF can provided: HTTP , TCP ,NamedPipe , Peer2Peer ,MSMQ.
- Binding: Specifies how a service is accessible. In other words: how the two parties will communicate in terms of transport (HTTP , TCP ,NamedPipe , Peer2Peer ,MSMQ) ,encoding (text, binary etc.) and protocols (like transactional support or reliable messaging).
- Contract: Used to specify what your service can do. For example: give you the square when providing 2 numbers.
All communications with the WCF service will happen via the endpoints. The endpoints specify a Contract that defines which methods of the Service class will be accessible via the endpoint; each endpoint may expose a different set of methods. The endpoints also define a binding that specifies how a client will communicate with the service and the address where the endpoint is hosted. WCF provides Windows Activation Services which can be used to host the WCF service. Otherwise the WCF service can also be hosted in IIS or in any process by using the Service Host class, which is provided by WCF. Services can also be self-hosted.
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