Windows Communication Foundation

What Does Windows Communication Foundation 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 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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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…