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Basics Of Windows Communication Foundation

What is WCF?
Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is an SDK for developing and deploying services on Windows. WCF provides a runtime environment for services, enabling you to expose CLR types as services, and to consume other services as CLR types.
WCF is part of .NET 3.0 and requires .NET 2.0, so it can only run on systems that support it.
WCF is a unification of .NET framework communication technologies which unites the following technologies:-

-NET remoting
-Web services

What is service and client in perspective of data communication?
A service is a unit of functionality exposed to the world. The client of a service is merely the party consuming the service.

What is ABCs Of WCF?
Hosts and Clients communicate with each other by agreeing on the ABCs.ABC indicates three things:
-Address:The location Of the service
-Binding:WCF Ships with a number of different bindings that specify network protocols
-Contract:A description of each method exposed from the WCF Service.

<service name="MyNameService" behaviorConfiguration="MyNameServiceBehavior">
<endpoint address="" binding="wsHttpBinding" contract="IMyService"/>
<behavior name="MyNameServiceBehavior">
<!-- To avoid disclosing metadata information, set the value below to false and remove the metadata endpoint above before deployment -->
<serviceMetadata httpGetEnabled="true"/>
<!-- To receive exception details in faults for debugging purposes, set the value below to true. Set to false before deployment to avoid disclosing exception information -->
<serviceDebug includeExceptionDetailInFaults="true"/>

What is endpoint in WCF?
Every service must have Address that defines where the service resides, Contract that defines what the service does and a Binding that defines how to communicate with the service. In WCF the relationship between Address, Contract and Binding is called Endpoint.
The Endpoint is the fusion of Address, Contract and Binding.

What is address in WCF and how many types of transport schemas are there in WCF?
Address is a way of letting client know that where a service is located. In WCF, every service is associated with a unique address. This contains the location of the service and transport schemas.
WCF supports following transport schemas
-Peer network
-IPC (Inter-Process Communication over named pipes)
The sample address for above transport schema may look like

What is binding and how many types of bindings are there in WCF?
A binding defines how an endpoint communicates to the world. A binding defines the transport (such as HTTP or TCP) and the encoding being used (such as text or binary). A binding can contain binding elements that specify details like the security mechanisms used to secure messages, or the message pattern used by an endpoint.

WCF supports nine types of bindings.
-Basic binding
Offered by the BasicHttpBinding class, this is designed to expose a WCF service as a legacy ASMX web service, so that old clients can work with new services. When used by the client, this binding enables new WCF clients to work with old ASMX services.

-TCP binding
Offered by the NetTcpBinding class, this uses TCP for cross-machine communication on the intranet. It supports a variety of features, including reliability, transactions, and security, and is optimized for WCF-to-WCF communication. As a result, it requires both the client and the service to use WCF.

-Peer network binding
Offered by the NetPeerTcpBinding class, this uses peer networking as a transport. The peer network-enabled client and services all subscribe to the same grid and broadcast messages to it.

-IPC binding
Offered by the NetNamedPipeBinding class, this uses named pipes as a transport for same-machine communication. It is the most secure binding since it cannot accept calls from outside the machine and it supports a variety of features similar to the TCP binding.

-Web Service (WS) binding
Offered by the WSHttpBinding class, this uses HTTP or HTTPS for transport, and is designed to offer a variety of features such as reliability, transactions, and security over the Internet.

-Federated WS binding
Offered by the WSFederationHttpBinding class, this is a specialization of the WS binding, offering support for federated security.

-Duplex WS binding
Offered by the WSDualHttpBinding class, this is similar to the WS binding except it also supports bidirectional communication from the service to the client.

-MSMQ binding
Offered by the NetMsmqBinding class, this uses MSMQ for transport and is designed to offer support for disconnected queued calls.

-MSMQ integration binding
Offered by the MsmqIntegrationBinding class, this converts WCF messages to and from MSMQ messages, and is designed to interoperate with legacy MSMQ clients.

What are contracts in WCF?
In WCF, all services expose contracts. The contract is a platform-neutral and standard way of describing what the service does.

WCF defines four types of contracts.

-1.Service contracts:
Describe which operations the client can perform on the service.
There are two types of Service Contracts.
--a)ServiceContract - This attribute is used to define the Interface.
--b)OperationContract - This attribute is used to define the method inside Interface.
interface IMyContract
string MyMethod( );
class MyService : IMyContract
public string MyMethod( )
return "Hello World";

-2.Data contracts:Define which data types are passed to and from the service. WCF defines implicit contracts for built-in types such as int and string, but we can easily define explicit opt-in data contracts for custom types.

There are two types of Data Contracts.
--a)DataContract - attribute used to define the class
--b)DataMember - attribute used to define the properties.
class Contact
public string FirstName;

public string LastName;
If DataMember attributes are not specified for a properties in the class, that property can't be passed to-from web service.

-3.Fault contracts:Define which errors are raised by the service, and how the service handles and propagates errors to its clients.

-4.Message contracts :Allow the service to interact directly with messages. Message contracts can be typed or untyped, and are useful in interoperability cases and when there is an existing message format we have to comply with.

Where we can host WCF services?
Every WCF services must be hosted somewhere. There are three ways of hosting WCF services.

They are

-1. IIS
-2. Self Hosting
-3. WAS (Windows Activation Service)

How to deal with operation overloading while exposing the WCF services?
By default overload operations (methods) are not supported in WSDL based operation. However by using Name property of OperationContract attribute, we can deal with operation overloading scenario.
interface ICalculator
[OperationContract(Name = "AddInt")]
int Add(int arg1,int arg2);

[OperationContract(Name = "AddDouble")]
double Add(double arg1,double arg2);

What is the difference WCF and Web services?
-Web services can only be invoked by HTTP. While WCF Service or a WCF component can be invoked by any protocol and any transport type. Second web services are not flexible. However, WCF Services are flexible.
-If you make a new version of the service then you need to just expose a new end. Therefore, services are agile and which is a very practical approach looking at the current business trends.

How to set the timeout property for the WCF Service client call?
The timeout property can be set for the WCF Service client call using binding tag.
binding = "wsHttpBinding"
bindingConfiguration = "LongTimeout"
<binding name = "LongTimeout" sendTimeout = "00:04:00"/>
If no timeout has been specified, the default is considered as 1 minute.

What is Proxy and how to generate proxy for WCF Services?
The proxy is a CLR class that exposes a single CLR interface representing the service contract. The proxy provides the same operations as service's contract, but also has additional methods for managing the proxy life cycle and the connection to the service. The proxy completely encapsulates every aspect of the service: its location, its implementation technology and runtime platform, and the communication transport.

The proxy can be generated using Visual Studio by right clicking Reference and clicking on Add Service Reference. This brings up the Add Service Reference dialog box, where you need to supply the base address of the service (or a base address and a MEX URI) and the namespace to contain the proxy.

Proxy can also be generated by using SvcUtil.exe command-line utility. We need to provide SvcUtil with the HTTP-GET address or the metadata exchange endpoint address and, optionally, with a proxy filename. The default proxy filename is output.cs but you can also use the /out switch to indicate a different name.

SvcUtil http://localhost/MyService/MyService.svc /out:Proxy.cs

When we are hosting in IIS and selecting a port other than port 80 (such as port 88), we must provide that port number as part of the base address:

SvcUtil http://localhost:88/MyService/MyService.svc /out:Proxy.cs

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