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