Chapter 1. Windows Communication Foundation Overview

One of the biggest IT topics today has to be the concept of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). Service-Oriented Architecture isn't new. You'd think that with the coverage it has received over the past few years that developers and "techy" individuals would understand it better, yet it ranks fairly high on the misunderstood-o-meter because its interpretation, implementation, and use is pretty loose due to the fairly vague definition.

When you want to understand the meaning of something, you usually go to a place that defines it, such as a dictionary. In this case, we turn to the W3C to understand the definition of SOA. The W3C defines Service-Oriented Architecture as "A set of components which can be invoked and whose interface descriptions can be discovered and published" ( As you sit and ponder this definition, it becomes quite apparent that this definition is fairly broad. It also becomes apparent why the Service-Oriented Architecture picture is somewhat fuzzy, because the definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

With this in mind, the purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, to better explain what SOA is and the need for it; and second, to introduce Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and explain how it answers some of the SOA needs. This chapter covers the following:

  • The need for SOA

  • How Windows Communication Foundation addresses the SOA needs

The Need for SOA

To understand Service-Oriented ...

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