Hawkeye on Standard WCF Bindings

I’m in WF/WCF training this week, so any daytime blogging will be on breaks and at lunch. So far, the instructor is pretty good, though we’ve only covered “intro to WCF” so far. Given the amount of content he’s laid out, I wonder how were going to get through it all.

The instructor said something interesting as he was going over the bindings that come “out of the box” with WCF. He commented that these bindings were the ones the WCF developers thought would be used most often. Of course, he doesn’t speak for the WCF team, but it does make some kind of sense. You can extend WCF to support any potential binding, but it makes sense the WCF team would want to enable the common cases without having to write much code.

So take a look at the list of nine standard bindings. Given that WCF is about unifying the windows stack for distributed computing, most of the bindings are at least conceptually similar or in some cases leverage previous distributed paradigms and technologies. You have two HTTP based bindings (with and without WS-* extensions) which are analogous to ASMX and WSE. There’s a TCP binding which is comparable to .NET remoting. And there are two MSMQ bindings (with and without SOAP support) for those needing to interop with existing MSMQ systems or who need durable messaging.

That leaves four “new” standard bindings. These are interesting as they don’t herald back to previous technologies and paradigms of distributed computing (at least on the Windows platform) but still the WCF team thought enough of the scenarios they enable to include them in the box with WCF. For example, I the wsFederationHttpBinding is designed to take advantage of the significant investment they’ve made in federated identity. Several years ago, Don Box talked about shrinking the service metaphor rather than stretching the object metaphor across the network. NetNamedPipesBinding is an obvious implementation of that vision. And wsDualHttpBinding is a way to take advantage of the WCF’s duplex channel shape while still using HTTP as your transport.

Finally, there’s netPeerTCPBinding. From where I sit, this is a radical addition to an otherwise standard set of bindings. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s there. But I’m guessing developers who look at it are more likely to think along the lines of “Wow, what can I do with this?” rather than “Yes, I expected that to be there.” Certainly, that was my thought process.

Anyone got any cool uses for netPeerTCPBinding?


"Anyone got any cool uses for netPeerTCPBinding?" Most certainly... how about PeerChannel which enables p2p scenario's under WCF. Check it out, very cool stuff.