Guidance on .net web services

It's been a few years since I've done web services. I remember it to be fairly simply to create and consume one. In my current position, I work in a large organization and we use a lot of DB2 stored procedures the mainframe guy write for us to get at HR data.

I'm now starting on a new HR project and rather than having the same ol' data access code that is in most of our other HR apps, I suggested we write a code library DLL that did all this work and just use this DLL in our HR apps from here on out. Once I suggested this, my manager thinks this is a great idea, but he wants it done in web services.

My manager has now tasked me with researching options for securing these web services would be. He wants me to tell him if we should use WCF with this and if the Java developers in the organization will be able to use the web services I create.

I have done quite a few web searches and haven't found information that specifically answers these questions. Is there anyone here with experience in doing this and could answer the qeustions regarding the security, WCF (which I know little about), and interoperability with other platforms (Java)?



As Mehrdad mentions (and I totally agree), WCF is the current offering my Microsoft for most cases.

ASMX is great and simple - but it's very limited in many ways:

  • you can only host your web services in IIS
  • you can only reach your web services over HTTP
  • security is very limited

WCF remedies this - and offer much more beyond that. You can host your WCF services in IIS - or self-host in a console app or Win NT Service, as need be. You can connect your WCF services using HTTP, TCP/IP, MSMQ, Peer-to-peer protocols, named pipes for on-machine communications and much more.

I'd definitely recommend you check out WCF and give it a spin. It's a tad more complex than ASMX, but it also offer just sooo much more capabilities and choices!

As for resoures: there's the MSDN WCF Developer Center which has everything from beginner's tutorials to articles and sample code.

Also, I would recommend you have a look at the Pluralsight screen casts on WCF - it's an excellent series going from "Creating your first WCF service" and "Creating your first WCF client" all the way to rather advanced topics. Aaron Skonnard very nicely explains everything in 10-15 minutes screencasts - highly recommended!

WCF is the current approach for building service end points in .NET apps. It's flexible in supporting different transport channels and protocols. You can certainly expose SOAP Web Services from WCF and use them from Java clients or anything else that supports XML.

The old way of doing that in .NET, simple ASMX Web services is deprecated in favor of WCF. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of WCF but it's very simple to use. Personally, I still like it and use it in very simple Web services where WCF is an overkill.

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