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WCF is Open Source

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The .NET Foundation has just announced the release of Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) as open source. WCF, originally offered in .NET 3.0, offers a high-level abstraction over cross-application communication. It supports one-way and two-way messages over HTTP, TCP, named pipes, and, with third-party extensions, any other message based wire format.

WCF has a mixed reputation. While very easy to get started with, the learning curve has proven to be incredibly steep. This is in part due to questionable design decisions, but most it is just a lack of education. Microsoft did a very poor job of documenting WCF, and it wasn’t until Carlos Figueira’s 2011 blog series titled WCF Extensibility that we actually got a good tutorial on the framework’s advanced features.

The open source version of WCF is composed of five libraries:

  • ServiceModel.Primitives
  • ServiceModel.Http
  • ServiceModel.NetTcp
  • ServiceModel.Duplex
  • ServiceModel.Security

Ron Cain, Project lead for WCF, writes,

Microsoft released Visual Studio 2015 RC at the Build conference in April 2015, and it supports the ability to use WCF in both Universal Windows and ASP.NET 5 applications. The code used to build these WCF libraries used by VS 2015 RC was moved into this new GitHub repository, and the GitHub version will be the source used moving forward. By contributing to the WCF project you will be contributing directly to the WCF capabilities available to Universal Windows and ASP.NET 5 apps.

Everything you need for basic one-way communication over HTTP or TCP is in place. Two-way communication, web sockets, and various security features such as SSL are still a work in progress.

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