Metadata Publishing Behavior


The Metadata Publishing Behavior sample demonstrates how to control the metadata publishing features of a service. To prevent unintentional disclosure of potentially sensitive service metadata, the default configuration for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services disables metadata publishing. This behavior is secure by default, but also means that you cannot use a metadata import tool (such as Svcutil.exe) to generate the client code required to call the service unless the service’s metadata publishing behavior is explicitly enabled in configuration.


For clarity, this sample demonstrates how to create an unsecured metadata publishing endpoint. Such endpoints are potentially available to anonymous unauthenticated consumers and care must be taken before deploying such endpoints to ensure that publicly disclosing a service’s metadata is appropriate. See the Custom Secure Metadata Endpoint sample for a sample that secures a metadata endpoint.

The sample is based on the Getting Started Sample, which implements the ICalculator service contract. In this sample, the client is a console application (.exe) and the service is hosted by Internet Information Services (IIS).


The setup procedure and build instructions for this sample are located at the end of this topic.

For a service to expose metadata, the ServiceMetadataBehavior must be configured on the service. When this behavior is present, you can publish metadata by configuring an endpoint to expose the IMetadataExchange contract as an implementation of a WS-MetadataExchange (MEX) protocol. As a convenience, this contract has been given the abbreviated configuration name of "IMetadataExchange". This sample uses the mexHttpBinding, which is a convenience standard binding that is equivalent to the wsHttpBinding with the security mode set to None. A relative address of "mex" is used in the endpoint, which when resolved against the services base address results in an endpoint address of http://localhost/servicemodelsamples/service.svc/mex. The following shows the behavior configuration:

    <behavior name="CalculatorServiceBehavior">
      <!-- The serviceMetadata behavior publishes metadata through 
           the IMetadataExchange contract. When this behavior is 
           present, you can expose this contract through an endpoint 
           as shown below. Setting httpGetEnabled to true publishes 
           the service's WSDL at the <baseaddress>?wsdl, for example,
           http://localhost/servicemodelsamples/service.svc?wsdl -->
      <serviceMetadata httpGetEnabled="True"/>
      <serviceDebug includeExceptionDetailInFaults="False" />

The following shows the MEX endpoint.

<!-- the MEX endpoint is exposed at 
     To expose the IMetadataExchange contract, you 
     must enable the serviceMetadata behavior as demonstrated                         
     previously. -->
<endpoint address="mex"
          contract="IMetadataExchange" />

This sample sets the HttpGetEnabled property to true, which also exposes the service's metadata using HTTP GET. To enable an HTTP GET metadata endpoint, the service must have an HTTP base address. The query string ?wsdl is used on the base address of the service to access the metadata. For example, to see the WSDL for the service in a Web browser you would use the address http://localhost/servicemodelsamples/service.svc?wsdl. Alternatively, you can use this behavior to expose metadata over HTTPS by setting HttpsGetEnabled to true. This requires an HTTPS base address.

To access the service's MEX endpoint use the ServiceModel Metadata Utility Tool (Svcutil.exe).

svcutil.exe /n:"http://Microsoft.ServiceModel.Samples,Microsoft.ServiceModel.Samples" http://localhost/servicemodelsamples/service.svc/mex /out:generatedClient.cs

This generates a client based on the service's metadata.

To access the service's metadata using HTTP GET, point your browser to http://localhost/servicemodelsamples/service.svc?wsdl.

If you remove this behavior and try to open the service you get an exception. This error occurs because without the behavior, the endpoint configured with the IMetadataExchange contract has no implementation.

If you set HttpGetEnabled to false, you see the CalculatorService help page instead of seeing the service's metadata.

To set up, build, and run the sample

  1. To build the C# or Visual Basic .NET edition of the solution, follow the instructions in Building the Windows Communication Foundation Samples.

  2. To run the sample in a single- or cross-machine configuration, follow the instructions in Running the Windows Communication Foundation Samples.


The samples may already be installed on your machine. Check for the following (default) directory before continuing.


If this directory does not exist, go to Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) Samples for .NET Framework 4 to download all Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and WF samples. This sample is located in the following directory.