Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is a programming platform for developing, configuring and deploying the distributed services. It is also known as indigo. It is a programming platform and runtime system for building, configuring and deploying network-distributed services. It provides a runtime environment to our services, enabling you to expose CLR types as services, and to consume other services as CLR types.
Interoperability, Message Pattern, Transport protocol and Encoding is the fundamental characteristics of WCF. It introduced with .Net framework 3.0 by Microsoft. It’s a combined feature of COM, MSMQ, Remoting and Web Service. WCF provides a common platform for all .NET communication.
It is a combination of different technology in one group.
Feature of WCF
Following are the main features of WCF service.
WCF services are interoperable, It means, this is not required for both service and client to be created in .Net technology. Client application can be created in any other technology instead of .Net. WCF service is flexible to connect with non .net technology client. It is next of Remoting where the client and service should be in .Net.
As compare to web service message pattern, It is one step ahead because of it support several message pattern. It supports one way, request/reply and one more duplex exchange pattern.
WCF can process plain xml data as web service does that is not wrapped in a SOAP envelope. WCF also support non xml format data [JSON] as well as specific xml format [ATOM].
Transport protocol and Encoding
WCF supports multiple transport protocol and encoding. By default WCF uses SOAP messages over HTTP protocol. Using WCF, you can send messages over TCP, MSMQ or Named Pipes and your message format can be text or binary message format.
As compare to Web Services, WCF service is fast, reliable and secure.
Hope you enjoy it !