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Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)

Definition - What does Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) mean?

Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is a technology for developing applications based on service-oriented architecture (SOA). WCF is implemented using a set of classes placed on top of the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR). It addresses the problem of interoperability using .NET for distributed applications.

Inter-business collaborations have become increasingly common, and different business organizations use different software as their underlying implementation. Therefore, a platform-independent, programming language-independent communication framework is required to facilitate communication.

Techopedia explains Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)

WCF is entirely based on the .NET framework. It is primarily implemented as a set of classes that correspond to the CLR in the .NET framework. However, WCF allows .NET application developers to build service-oriented applications. The WCF client uses Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to communicate with the server. The client and server are independent of the operating system, hardware and programming platform, and communication takes place at a high level of abstraction.

The mechanism of WCF operation is similar to ASP.NET web services (WS). Clients can invoke and consume multiple services, and a single service can be consumed by multiple clients. WS-Addressing, WS-Reliable Messaging and WS-Security are some of the Web Services specifications that are implemented by WCF.

The advantages of WCF include:

  • WCF can be configured to work independently of SOAP and use RSS instead.
  • WCF is one of the fastest communication technologies and offers excellent performance compared to other Microsoft specifications.
  • To improve communication, transmission speed needs to be optimized. This is achieved by transmitting binary-coded XML data instead of plain text to decrease latency.
  • Object life-cycle management and distributed transaction management are applicable on any application developed using WCF.
  • WCF uses WS specifications to provide reliability, security and transaction management.
  • Messages can be queued using persistence queuing. As a result, no delays occur, even under high traffic conditions.

WCF is designed to communicate with other non-WCF applications in addition to the various successors and predecessors of Microsoft technology.

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