WCF 3.5 Vs WCF 4.0 Vs WCF 4.5

In this article, we will have a look into new and important features in major versions of Windows Communication Foundation starting from WCF 3.5 to WCF 4.5.

What’s new in vWCF3.5?

  • WCF support for REST Style Services by introducing Web programming model using rich features of HTTP instead of just a transport.
  • In order to build Workflow Services, WCF 3.5 supports integration with WF (Windows Workflow Foundation).
  • Using framework 3.5, now we can build AJAX-enabled WCF Services.
  • It’s possible to build services using WCF 3.5 that can be easily persisted and reloaded again. Such services are called Durable Services.
  • To make WCF Services Interoperable, v3.5 is align with standards like WS-Trust, WS-SecurityPolicy, Web Service Reliable Messaging and Web Service Atomic Transaction etc.
  • In order to process Syndication feeds, WCF now supports a strongly typed object model.
  • For applications those are configured with a trust level other than Full are called Partial Trust Applications. Such Partial trust applications can use limited features of WCF now

With WCF v3.5 SP1, more features introduced

  • Scalability in web-hosted applications.
  • Improvements with DataContract serializer.
  • For Partial Trust application scenarios, further improved debugging support.
  • Using ADO.NET Entity Framework entities in WCF Contracts.

What’s new in WCF v4.0?

  • WCF Configuration has been simplified by introducing default endpoints, binding and behavior configuration. Now its not necessary to provide an endpoint while hosting a WCF service, it will be created automatically. And we can have configuration free services as well.
  • REST Improvements like Help page and declarative HTTP caching.
  • Discovery Alignment with standard like WS-Discovery protocol. A client can dynamically identify the service if a service endpoint address is changing.
  • Routing A configurable routing service is introduced providing features like content-based routing, protocol bridging and error handling previously included with Dublin.
  • Workflow v4.0 further enhances support for integrating WCF with WF. Now workflow service can be hosted from .xamlx file without .svc file.

What’s new in WCF v4.5?

  • Simplified Generated Configuration files, generated configuration file on client will only have non-default binding configuration.
  •  Validating WCF Configuration is now part of v4.5. While compiling if there are some validation errors with configuration file, it will be displayed as warnings in Visual Studio. 
  •  WCF 4.5 support for Task-based Asynchronous programming model.
  •  Contract First Development is now supported. Only contract will be generated in service.cs, if we use SvcUtil.exe with “/ServiceContract” switch while generating proxy.
  •  ASP.NET Compatibility Mode changed to enable WCF service to participate in ASP.NET Pipeline just like ASMX services.
  •  Tooltip and intellisense support in Configuration files. 
  •  XmlDictionaryReaderQuotas default values has been changed.
  •  v4.5 allows to create an endpoint that supports Multiple Authentication Types.
  •  Automatic HTTPS endpoints in IIS.
  •  Improvements in Streaming, support for real asynchronous streaming, no blockage of one thread per client as with previous versions.
  •  Support for UDP transport, using UDP one way messages are very fast.
  •  BasicHttpsBinding, new security configuration option.
  •  In order to have bidirectional communication with better performance like TCP, WebSocket is the right choice.
  • WCF v4.5 introduces NetHttpBinding and NetHttpsBinding bindings for supporting WebSockets.
  •  Single WSDL Document, now we can create WSDL information in one file.
  •  IDN (Internationalized Domain Names) support means WCF Service can be called using IDN names by client.
  •  Compression support is now available for Binary Encoder in WCF 4.5 through CompressionFormat property.
  •  ChannelFactory Cache, WCF 4.5 now support for caching Channel Factories to reduce overhead associated while creating a ChannelFactory instance.
  •  WCF Service can be configured using config file or through code. In v4.5, configuration through code has been simplified by defining a public static method (i.e. configure) instead of creating a ServiceHostFactory.

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