Community Developers Relaunch WCF After Microsoft Abandons – Visual Studio Magazine


Community Developers Relaunch WCF After Microsoft Obsolescence

Windows Communication Foundation lives, in a way.

Many Microsoft-centric developers were ticked off years ago when the company refused to port WCF – a framework for building service-oriented applications – from the older .NET Framework to .NET Core, suggesting gRCP as the way forward in the new open source, cross-platform command.

This decision in 2019 generated comments like:

  • “So we’re getting Java interop but not WCF. I’d like to try what the people planning this are smoking.”
  • “I don’t understand the deliberate killing of WCF. It sounds sadistic. They made us join and make our apps depend on it, and now they’re telling us we can’t use it in the future when our applications are already deeply linked to it.”
  • “This. Non-negotiable. Give us WCF or forget it.”

Shortly after, we reported on a community-led effort to provide some semblance of the old WCF technology, if only in part. Called Core WFC, its initial code was donated by a member of the Microsoft WCF team and it was sponsored by the .NET Foundation. “Core WCF does not intend to be a 100% compatible port of WCF to .NET Core, but aims to allow many implementations of WCF contracts and services to be ported with only a namespace change. “, said the .NET Foundation in a message to the times.

Today (April 28), a Microsoft blog post by Sam Spencer, a program manager on the .NET Core team, announced CoreWCF 1.0 (somewhere along the line, the name was shortened). Although Microsoft employees were involved, he noted that more commits actually came from the community, as well as organizations such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). However, Microsoft will be support the community project, depending on the support status of the underlying .NET platforms. Microsoft said other organizations could also provide support.

The rationale for the project hasn’t changed: it’s still not a full-fledged replacement, it’s more of a transition/modernization tool, while gRCP (procedure calls to remote) is still Microsoft’s recommendation.

Adding a WCF Web Service Service Reference
[Click on image for larger view.] Adding a WCF Web Service Service Reference (source: Microsoft).

“CoreWCF is for customers who are using WCF on .NET Framework and need WCF support in .NET Core to help with modernizing the application,” Spencer said. “While nothing is stopping you from adopting CoreWCF in greenfield projects, we recommend that you consider more modern alternatives to SOAP such as gRPC. The sweet spot for CoreWCF is to make it easier to modernize heavily dependent servers and clients of WCF. and soap.”

A reader provided a similar answer to a question asking how it compares to WCF – Windows Communication Foundation Client Libraries: “The new CoreWCF library is a subset of WCF code to help migrate WCF services to .NET Core/5 /6 . It’s not complete, but more of a workaround to help people move away from .NET Framework. I don’t think MS’ position has changed at all on this. They will still recommend moving to the REST/gRPC services for a variety of reasons, but for cases where it’s not practical to migrate, this new library can be used to at least create WCF services now.Before, you had to stick with .NET Framework.

As a subset, it includes WCF functionality for:

  • HTTP and NetTCP transfers
  • Security
  • WSDL Generation
  • Partial configuration support, including services and terminals
  • Extensibility (IServiceBehavior and IEndpointBehavior) — most extensibilities are available

Not available in v1.0 are:

  • Transports other than Http and NetTCP
  • Message Security Beyond Transport and Transport with Message IDs
  • Distributed operations
  • Message Queue

As for the first item in the list above, a GitHub feature roadmap voting issue was put in place in 2020 to help guide future development plans. As of this writing, the top vote collector is “Transport – NamedPipe”.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

Briana R. Cross