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WCF Web HTTP Service Help Page

.NET Framework 4.5 provides an automatic help page for WCF WEB HTTP services. This help page lists a description of each operation, request and response formats, and schemas. This functionality is turned off by default. When a user browses to a WCF WEB HTTP service and appends "/Help" on to the end of the URL, for example http://localhost:8000/Customers/Help, a help page like the following is displayed.

WCF REST Help Page

The user can then click any method listed in the help page and detailed page for that operation is displayed showing more information about the method, including message formats and example responses. The following image is an example of a help page for a method.

WCF REST Help Page Details

The WCF WEB HTTP Help page displays a short description for each operation provided that you specify one using the DescriptionAttribute. This attribute takes a string that contains a short description of the operation it is applied to. For example, the following code shows how to use the DescriptionAttribute to provide a short description.

[OperationContract]
[WebGet(UriTemplate="/template1", BodyStyle = WebMessageBodyStyle.Bare)]
[Description("Description for GET /template1")]
SyndicationFeedFormatter GetTemplate1();

To turn on the WCF WEB HTTP Help page, you must add an endpoint behavior to your service's endpoints. This can be done in configuration or code. To enable the WCF WEB HTTP Help age in configuration, add an endpoint behavior with a <webHttp> element, set enableHelp to true, and add an endpoint and configure it to use the endpoint behavior. The following configuration code shows how to do this.

<endpointBehaviors>
   <behavior name="RESTEndpointBehavior">
      <webHttp enableHelp="true"/>
   </behavior>
</endpointBehaviors>
<!-- ... -->
<services>
   <service behaviorConfiguration="RESTWebServiceBehavior" name="RESTWebService">      <endpoint address="" kind="webHttpEndpoint" behaviorConfiguration="RESTEndpointBehavior" contract="IHello" />
      
      <!-- ... -->
   </service>
</services>

To enable the WCF Web HTTP Help page in code, add a service endpoint and add a WebHttpBehavior to the endpoint setting EnableHelp to true. The following code shows how to do this.

using (WebServiceHost host = new WebServiceHost(typeof(Service), new Uri("http://localhost:8000/Customers")))
{
   host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(ICustomerCollection), new WebHttpBinding(), "");             
   host.Description.Endpoints[0].Behaviors.Add(new WebHttpBehavior { EnableHelp = true });
   // ...
}

The help page is XHTML based with mark-up that identifies the different parts of the page. This enables clients to programmatically access the page using XElement or other XLinq APIs.

The following schemas are used in the WCF Web HTTP service help page.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
<xs:schema xmlns:tns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/" attributeFormDefault="qualified" elementFormDefault="qualified" targetNamespace="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/" xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
  <xs:element name="anyType" nillable="true" type="xs:anyType" />
  <xs:element name="anyURI" nillable="true" type="xs:anyURI" />
  <xs:element name="base64Binary" nillable="true" type="xs:base64Binary" />
  <xs:element name="boolean" nillable="true" type="xs:boolean" />
  <xs:element name="byte" nillable="true" type="xs:byte" />
  <xs:element name="dateTime" nillable="true" type="xs:dateTime" />
  <xs:element name="decimal" nillable="true" type="xs:decimal" />
  <xs:element name="double" nillable="true" type="xs:double" />
  <xs:element name="float" nillable="true" type="xs:float" />
  <xs:element name="int" nillable="true" type="xs:int" />
  <xs:element name="long" nillable="true" type="xs:long" />
  <xs:element name="QName" nillable="true" type="xs:QName" />
  <xs:element name="short" nillable="true" type="xs:short" />
  <xs:element name="string" nillable="true" type="xs:string" />
  <xs:element name="unsignedByte" nillable="true" type="xs:unsignedByte" />
  <xs:element name="unsignedInt" nillable="true" type="xs:unsignedInt" />
  <xs:element name="unsignedLong" nillable="true" type="xs:unsignedLong" />
  <xs:element name="unsignedShort" nillable="true" type="xs:unsignedShort" />
  <xs:element name="char" nillable="true" type="tns:char" />
  <xs:simpleType name="char">
    <xs:restriction base="xs:int" />
  </xs:simpleType>
  <xs:element name="duration" nillable="true" type="tns:duration" />
  <xs:simpleType name="duration">
    <xs:restriction base="xs:duration">
      <xs:pattern value="\-?P(\d*D)?(T(\d*H)?(\d*M)?(\d*(\.\d*)?S)?)?" />
      <xs:minInclusive value="-P10675199DT2H48M5.4775808S" />
      <xs:maxInclusive value="P10675199DT2H48M5.4775807S" />
    </xs:restriction>
  </xs:simpleType>
  <xs:element name="guid" nillable="true" type="tns:guid" />
  <xs:simpleType name="guid">
    <xs:restriction base="xs:string">
      <xs:pattern value="[\da-fA-F]{8}-[\da-fA-F]{4}-[\da-fA-F]{4}-[\da-fA-F]{4}-[\da-fA-F]{12}" />
    </xs:restriction>
  </xs:simpleType>
  <xs:attribute name="FactoryType" type="xs:QName" />
  <xs:attribute name="Id" type="xs:ID" />
  <xs:attribute name="Ref" type="xs:IDREF" />
</xs:schema>

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
<xs:schema xmlns:tns="http://microsoft.com/wsdl/types/" elementFormDefault="qualified" targetNamespace="http://microsoft.com/wsdl/types/" xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
  <xs:simpleType name="guid">
    <xs:restriction base="xs:string">
      <xs:pattern value="[0-9a-fA-F]{8}-[0-9a-fA-F]{4}-[0-9a-fA-F]{4}-[0-9a-fA-F]{4}-[0-9a-fA-F]{12}" />
    </xs:restriction>
  </xs:simpleType>
  <xs:simpleType name="char">
    <xs:restriction base="xs:unsignedShort" />
  </xs:simpleType>
</xs:schema>

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
<xs:schema xmlns:tns="http://schemas.datacontract.org/2004/07/System" elementFormDefault="qualified" targetNamespace="http://schemas.datacontract.org/2004/07/System" xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
  <xs:import namespace="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/" />
  <xs:complexType name="DateTimeOffset">
    <xs:annotation>
      <xs:appinfo>
        <IsValueType xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/">true</IsValueType>
      </xs:appinfo>
    </xs:annotation>
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element name="DateTime" type="xs:dateTime" />
      <xs:element name="OffsetMinutes" type="xs:short" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="DateTimeOffset" nillable="true" type="tns:DateTimeOffset" />
  <xs:complexType name="DBNull">
    <xs:sequence />
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="DBNull" nillable="true" type="tns:DBNull" />
</xs:schema>

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
<xs:schema xmlns:tns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/Arrays" xmlns:ser="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/" elementFormDefault="qualified" targetNamespace="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/Arrays" xmlns:xs="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
  <xs:import namespace="http://schemas.microsoft.com/2003/10/Serialization/" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfboolean">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="boolean" type="xs:boolean" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfboolean" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfboolean" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfchar">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="char" type="ser:char" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfchar" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfchar" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfdateTime">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="dateTime" type="xs:dateTime" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfdateTime" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfdateTime" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfdecimal">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="decimal" type="xs:decimal" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfdecimal" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfdecimal" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfdouble">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="double" type="xs:double" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfdouble" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfdouble" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOffloat">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="float" type="xs:float" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOffloat" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOffloat" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfguid">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="guid" type="ser:guid" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfguid" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfguid" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfint">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="int" type="xs:int" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfint" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfint" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOflong">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="long" type="xs:long" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOflong" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOflong" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfshort">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="short" type="xs:short" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfshort" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfshort" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfstring">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="string" nillable="true" type="xs:string" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfstring" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfstring" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfduration">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="duration" type="ser:duration" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfduration" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfduration" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfunsignedInt">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="unsignedInt" type="xs:unsignedInt" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfunsignedInt" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfunsignedInt" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfunsignedLong">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="unsignedLong" type="xs:unsignedLong" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfunsignedLong" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfunsignedLong" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfunsignedShort">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="unsignedShort" type="xs:unsignedShort" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfunsignedShort" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfunsignedShort" />
  <xs:complexType name="ArrayOfQName">
    <xs:sequence>
      <xs:element minOccurs="0" maxOccurs="unbounded" name="QName" nillable="true" type="xs:QName" />
    </xs:sequence>
  </xs:complexType>
  <xs:element name="ArrayOfQName" nillable="true" type="tns:ArrayOfQName" />
</xs:schema>

For more information about the data contract serialization schema, see Data Contract Schema Reference.

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