"There used to be a real me, but I had it surgically removed" -- Peter Sellers
I confess I must have either been asleep at the switch, or Microsoft is just throwing so many CTP's and BETAs at us poor slobs that I got sensory overload.
At any rate, WCF is here. They actually released it last November, according to Clemens Vasters, last Nov 8th - and its pre-baked into Windows Vista - all this under the moniker of ".NET Framework 3.0". Even some hosting ISP's have already installed it for their customers.
OK, so what is WCF (Windows Communications Foundation) and why should I care, right?
Let me try to provide a short, meaningful explanation:
Do you think it would be useful to you as a programmer if they took ASP.NET Web Services, Web Service Enhancements, .NET Remoting, Enterprise Services, and System.Messaging, and rolled them all into this new integrated architecture, programming model, and runtime environment and provided a more productive SOA development platform for distributed systems that's easy to learn to use?
That's basically what WCF is. Oh, sure -- there's more to it than that, but the above short paragraph is basically all you need to know. So the next time you need to develop a WebService, or something that uses MSMQ or Remoting, and you'd like to make it interoperable, transport agnostic, and easy to implement, WCF will quickly become your friend. And in fact, you don't even have to touch any WSDL- you can write the service contract / interfaces in C#!
Experienced .NET developers, after their first in-depth look at WCF will probably say what I said -- "This looks just like Remoting" -- which is true, although there is a lot more to it than that!
Now I'm not going to show sample code here. What I want to do is provide a series of resources that you can use as a starting point, and which have passed my "Bromberg's NO-FUD test":
Bromberg NO-FUD Seal of Approval WCF Links:
Microsoft .NET Framework (NetFx3) This is the "Main Page" where you can decipher the acronyms - WCF, WPF, WWE, NFL, you got the idea.
IDesign WCF Samples The IDesign people put out incredibly good work for training, and they make their samples available to the public. Highly recommended. (Hint: when you get your first email with the url, copy the url to the clipboard). Revisit their list and mouse over the ones you want to download, and then just change the download ID in your pasted URL).
Thom Robbins Blog Good stuff on WCF ServiceContract and OperationContract by a Microsoft insider.
Alexy Kovrin Video on creating WebServices with WCF. Also, WPF/E..
Al Alberto Debugging WCF apps.
Sam Gentile An old-timer who's really been around the block. Good for
WCF, and a lot more.
Aaron Skonnard Service Factory for WCF (MSDN Magazine Article)
WebService Software Factory Page (MSDN)
Juval Lowy Build a Queued WCF Response Service (MSDN Magazine)
Greg McKinley WCF Bloggers and Forums
WCF Integration with NetTiers (CodeSmith - compatible templates)
DasBlonde Michele Leroux Bustamente (now calls herself "Indigo Girl" -thanks for the comment)
There will be more resources shortly, and if you have one you think I should post, feel free to comment. NOTE: Some articles and resources may be a bit behind the times, and namespaces / methods etc. have changed, so "Developer Emptor".