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Basic Programming Lifecycle

Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) enables applications to communicate whether they are on the same computer, across the Internet, or on different application platforms. This topic outlines the tasks that are required to build a WCF application. For a working sample application, see Getting Started Tutorial.

The basic tasks to perform are, in order:

  1. Define the service contract. A service contract specifies the signature of a service, the data it exchanges, and other contractually required data. For more information, see Designing Service Contracts.

  2. Implement the contract. To implement a service contract, create a class that implements the contract and specify custom behaviors that the runtime should have. For more information, see Implementing Service Contracts.

  3. Configure the service by specifying endpoints and other behavior information. For more information, seeConfiguring Services.

  4. Host the service. For more information, see Hosting Services.

  5. Build a client application. For more information, see Building Clients.

Although the topics in this section follow this order, some scenarios do not start at the beginning. For example, if you want to build a client for a pre-existing service, you start at step 5. Or if you are building a service that others will use, you may skip step 5.

Once you are familiar with developing service contracts, you can also read Introduction to Extensibility. If you have problems with your service, check WCF Troubleshooting Quickstart to see whether others have the same or similar problems.

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