WCF, “I’m not dead yet”!

I just wanted to share a quick post regarding some information I found today about the future of WCF and .NET Core. This has been a hot topic over the last few months and there has been a lot of incorrect information floating around so I hope this helps clear some of that up.

The Microsoft .NET teams are working in the open on Github and communicating with the community there and also on Gitter.IM.  I’m finding lots of great info here and highly encourage you to check it out if you interested in the future of .NET.

https://github.com/microsoft/dotnet

https://gitter.im/orgs/dotnet/rooms

Ron Cain, a member of the .NET team, provided the following update in response to a user’s question a few days ago about whether WCF was dead. (Highlighting and emphasis added by me)

Ron Cain @roncain Jul 25 11:24

Hi @vincentshow , @optiklab — thanks for engaging with us. Regarding server-side support for WCF, we are in the process of collecting feedback regarding which features are most important to work on next. I invite you to read the discussion at dotnet/wcf#1200 and chime in there. Also notice on that issue is a link to a survey that we are currently conducting, and your comments are certainly welcome that way too. @optiklab — WCF is most certainly not dead. For REST API’s for new apps, we encourage use of Web API (which was created by many of the same folks who created WCF REST and felt a ground-up Http-only rewrite was merited). But there is still a viable need for WCF and SOAP, both client–>server as well as on the mid-tier to other services. The delay you see in terms of us implementing more parts of the “full” WCF stem from the fact we are committed to working cross-platform. Many “window-isms” need to be built from the ground up on the other platforms, and we have been engaged in making that happen. The WCF NET Core team is very active and now collecting information through the survey to help set the roadmap ahead. Your feedback is certainly welcome.

The bottom line is WCF is not dead. Microsoft is actively working to support it cross-platform in .NET Core.

To that end they are seeking out feedback from the community to know what they should prioritize from the full WCF stack and are asking interested parties to take a brief survey.  If you have any interest in getting WCF working on .NET Core please go take the survey today!

https://www.research.net/r/GitWCF

Who Cares?

REST has a ton of momentum right now but its missing a great discoverability story, which WCF does really well. I do think REST is superior to WCF/SOAP in many respects but we can’t expect everyone to re-write WCF before they go to .NET Core. 

For many developers (especially enterprise developers) using .NET, WCF has been the staple for web services for many years.  No doubt it has its issues but overall it has been a hugely successful framework in helping teams deliver value to their business quickly and effectively.  Supporting WCF in .NET Core will go a long way in assisting with the migration of thousans of products/systems.  In addition, its helps developers build confidence in the long-term support for .NET from Microsoft.

Hope this post was helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts and continue the conversation in the comments below or on Twitter/Reddit.

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6 thoughts on “WCF, “I’m not dead yet”!”

  1. This needs to be shouted down to the masses and spread far and wide. The amount if dis-info from the hipster developer crowd about WCF is yuge.

  2. As Juval Lowy has been at pains to point out for many years: WCF isn’t about web services or even Remoting – it’s simply a “better” .NET (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-Hxc6uWCPg for more details). More recently the Microservices architecture movement has presented as “new” what Juval has been saying for years about distributed components. It also underpins Azure Service Fabric which is the large-scale implementation of the actor model. The fact that it does SOAP and Web Services is a bonus rather than a raison d’être.

  3. WOW thanks for sharing this. We’re about to start a new Web API project. We were considering WCF but due to the “fake news” spreading all over, you have the feeling that WCF ceases to exists. With all due respect to Web API, it’s far from being ready to take over WCF and SOAP, especially for LoB apps.
    So really thanks for writing. You’re article will definitely be brought up on the table next meeting we have.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I’m glad the blog post was helpful to you. Looking forward I do actually think WebAPI and REST services will be better than WCF. The main point of this post was to let people know Microsoft is still supporting WCF and they are evaluating whether to port it to Core. All my new projects are in .NET Core which doesn’t yet support WCF so I use WebAPI REST Services.

  4. Are people basically duffers when it comes to WCF? People think WCF? But REST/Web API is better!!

    Yes, if you’re going over HTTP. If you have something internally though it should be with WCF!

    WCF != Web API alternative. Web API can have WCF behind it. WCF can have more WCF behind it.

    Microservices are a big thing now.

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