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XML Web Services Publishing and Deployment 

Deploying a Web service involves copying the .asmx file and any assemblies used by the Web service not shipping as a part of the Microsoft .NET Framework into a virtual directory on a Web server. For information on how to deploy a Web service, see Deploying XML Web Services.

Web Service Discovery

Web service discovery is the process of locating and interrogating Web service descriptions, which is a preliminary step for accessing a Web service. Through the discovery process, Web service clients can learn at design time that a Web service exists, what its capabilities are, and how to properly interact with it.

Web services are made available to users using a discovery mechanism that usually takes the form of a discovery document, an XML document that can contains links to other discovery documents, XSD schemas, and service descriptions in the Web Services Description Language (WSDL). From these documents they can determine what services are available to them.

There are three ways a potential Web service client can access a discovery document:

  • Static discovery file: Publish a discovery file, typically with a .disco file name extension. Users can browse to a specific discovery file or to the root of the Web application if the default Web page has a link to the file. A .disco file can contain references to any number of Web services.

  • ?disco query string: Any Web service running on ASP.NET can have a discovery document dynamically generated for it. A discovery document is automatically generated for a Web service when it is accessed using a URL with ?DISCO provided in the query string. For instance, if the URL to a Web service is, then a discovery document is automatically generated with a URL of The discovery document applies only to that Web service.

  • .vsdisco request: You can turn on dynamic discovery to allow Web service client applications to discover all available Web services in the folder and subfolders corresponding to a request URL. No static discovery document needs to be composed. When dynamic discovery is turned on for a Web server, a Visual Studio .NET developer wishing to generate a client proxy can specify a URL referencing a file with a .vsdisco extension, such as, in the Add Web Reference dialog box.

For information on enabling static discovery files and .vsdisco requests for your Web services, see How to: Enable Discovery for XML Web Services.

See Also