There are a number of existing approaches to building distributed applications. These include Web services, .NET Remoting, Message Queuing (MSMQ) and COM+/Enterprise Services. Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) unifies these into a single framework for building and consuming services. Microsoft originally introduced WCF as part of the .NET Framework 3.0 and has continued to enhance it for the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. (For more information on WCF, drop by the portal site here:
In this series of tutorials, you’ll see how to use WCF to build distributed applications. This first tutorial introduces the basics of building, hosting and calling a WCF service. Along the way, you’ll learn the basics of WCF, including the role of endpoints, which consists of addresses, bindings and contracts. You’ll also see a variety of techniques you can use for controlling the behavior of your services. (These tutorials assume that you have Visual Studio 2008 installed, along with the .NET Framework 3.5. You can choose to work in either Visual Basic or C#--the steps listed here call out specific differences between the languages, when necessary.)
WCF is a unified programming model for building service-oriented applications. Before you build a WCF service, you will explore what that means.