MS Windows Communication Foundation
Windows Communication Foundation, sometimes shortened to just WCF, previously codenamed
Indigo, is a new communication subsystem to enable applications, in one machine
or across multiple machines connected by a network, to communicate. WCF applications
can be developed in any language which can target the .NET runtime.
It is one of the four major application programming interfaces introduced as part
of .NET Framework 3.0, which is included with Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn";
Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are supported as well.
The WCF programming model unifies Web Services, .NET Remoting, Distributed Transactions,
and Message Queues into a single Service-oriented programming model for distributed
computing. It is intended to provide the rapid application development methodology
to the development of web services, with a single API for inter-process communication
in a local machine, LAN, or over the Internet. WCF runs in a sandbox and provides
the enhanced security model all .NET applications provide.
WCF uses SOAP messages for communication between two processes, thereby making WCF-based
applications interoperable with any other process that communicates via SOAP messages.
When a WCF process communicates with a non–WCF process, XML-based encoding is used
for the SOAP messages but when it communicates with another WCF process, the SOAP
messages are encoded in an optimized binary format. Both the encodings conform to
the data structure of the SOAP format, called Infoset.