Introduction to WCF
WCF is also known as the Windows Communication Foundation. It is mainly part of the .Net framework. It is used for developing service-oriented applications. It is used to create and consume services. WCF provides the platform for building and deploying various distributed network services. It mainly consists of Address, Binding and contracts, known as ABC for WCF. WCF service can be hosted in IIS, self-hosting and windows activation service as well.
Why should WCF be used?
WCF service is easy to use, and it is flexible as well. This service can be hosted in IIS, self-hosting, and windows activation service. It supports various protocols like HTTP, WS-HTTP, TCP, P2P, MSMQ and named pipes, etc. It is a service that helps in message exchange in XML format using HTTP protocol for interoperability, and it also acts as a remoting service to exchange the message in binary format using TCP protocol for performance. WCF service helps in communicating with the people or exchanging the data with the help of chat. It supplies the data to monitor the service like a traffic report. It is one of the security services to process the transactions. Some application uses this service to get the latest data feed and put the data into a logical and visual representation.
Features of WCF
The features of WCF are mentioned below:
- It supports service-oriented architecture.
- It supports multiple transport and encoding.
- Multiple message patterns.
- Data contracts.
- Service Metadata.
- Durable messages.
- Reliable and Queued messages.
- Ajax and Rest Support.
Advantages of WCF
The advantages of WCF are mentioned below:
- It is service-oriented.
- It is platform-independent.
- It is independent of location and language.
- It can maintain the transactions.
- Concurrency is being controlled through WCF.
- It is one of the fastest communication technology.
- It provides excellent performance.
- It can be configured to work independently.
- It helps in maintaining the state.
- It can be hosted via several means (IIS, WAS, Self-hosting)
WCF Service Components
The WCF service main components for creating and consuming the service are Address, Binding, and Contracts. It is also called as endpoints. These are explained below:
- Address: The address of the service will define where to send the messages. It identifies the endpoint and defines where the service is located. An URL (Uniform Resource Locator) property defines the address of the service. It’s mainly divided into 4 parts:
- Schema: This is the first part of the address. It is mainly “HTTP:”
- Machine: It can be a URL like “localhost.”
- Port: It is optional and tells which port it should hit.
- Path: To locate the service files.
- Binding: It will define the communication of the client to the service. The protocol that is being used for communication to the client. The different protocols can be used based on the requirement. The binding mainly consists of three things that are mentioned below:
- Protocol: It is mainly used to define the binding like security or transaction.
- Transport: It mainly defines the base protocol that is being used for communication like TCP, HTTP, MSMQ and named pipes, etc.
- Encoding: It is used in which format data should be sent, text or binary.
- Contracts: The contracts are being used to provide the types of operations and structure that are being allowed between the client and service on which they agreed on for the process of communication. It mainly takes care of the type of operations, message form, input parameters and data, and response of the message. It is of many types that are mentioned below:
- Data Contract: It is used to define the type of variable that will be used for the WCF service. A data contract is used to serialize and de-serialize the data. It helps in defining the format of data that needs to be passed from the service. It maps the common language runtime type to an XML schema. It is also referred to as a versioning system to manage the data. To define data contract, use [DataContract] and [DataMember] attribute.
- Service Contract: It is used to define the operations that are being exposed to others. It acts as an interface for the service. It defines the name and namespace for the service. It is defined with the [ServiceContract] attribute
- Operation Contract: It defines the method that is exposed to the client for the information exchanging between server and client. It tells that functionality to be given to the client. It is defined with the [OperationContract] attribute.
- Message contract: It is used to define the message elements that need to be passed, like a message header and a message body. It provides high-level security to messages as well. It is defined with the [MessageContract] attribute.
- Fault contract: It is used to define the error that is raised by the service and handling of the error. It is defined with the [FaultContract] attribute.
WCF is widely used for creating and consuming the service by the .Net developers and projects. The individual with the skill of WCF and .Net framework is earning a good salary and having a great range of opportunities available in the market. There are many organizations that are only working in Microsoft technologies, and WCF is one of the most used technology. The job seekers for this skill can look for opportunities through various platforms and grow their career in this technology.
WCF is simple and easy to learn. It is mainly used for building SOAP services. It is very secured and used the data to show in logical representation. It is one of the good services to be used than web service. It is flexible and provides many features for developing the service, and easy to consume as well. Its architecture is not complex. The programmers used this service because of its features and advantages that are mentioned above.
This has been a guide to What is WCF. Here we discussed the Basic concepts, working, and architecture with the advantage of WCF. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –