O'Reilly logo

Programming WCF Services, 2nd Edition by Juval Lowy

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Endpoints

Every service is associated with an address that defines where the service is, a binding that defines how to communicate with the service, and a contract that defines what the service does. This triumvirate governing the service is easy to remember as the ABC of the service. WCF formalizes this relationship in the form of an endpoint. The endpoint is the fusion of the address, contract, and binding (see Figure 1-5).

The endpoint

Figure 1-5. The endpoint

Every endpoint must have all three elements, and the host exposes the endpoint. Logically, the endpoint is the service's interface and is analogous to a CLR or COM interface. Note in Figure 1-5 the use of the traditional "lollipop" notation to denote an endpoint.

Tip

Conceptually, even in C# or VB you have endpoints: the address is the memory address of the type's virtual table, the binding is CLR, and the contract is the interface itself. Because in classic .NET programming you never deal with addresses or bindings, you take them for granted, and you've probably gotten used to equating in your mind's eye the interface (which is merely a programming construct) with all that it takes to interface with an object. The WCF endpoint is a true interface, because it contains all the information required to interface with the object. In WCF, the address and the binding are not preordained and need to be configured.

Every service must expose at least one business endpoint, and each endpoint has exactly one contract. All endpoints on a service have unique addresses, and a single service can expose multiple endpoints. These endpoints can use the same or different bindings and can expose the same or different contracts. There is absolutely no relationship between the various endpoints a service provides.

It is important to point out that nothing in the service code pertains to its endpoints, and they are always external to the service code. You can configure endpoints either administratively, using a config file, or programmatically.

Administrative Endpoint Configuration

Configuring an endpoint administratively requires placing the endpoint details in the hosting process's config file. For example, given this service definition:

namespace MyNamespace
{
   [ServiceContract]
   interface IMyContract
   {...}
   class MyService : IMyContract
   {...}
}

Example 1-6 shows the required entries in the config file. Under each service type, you list its endpoints.

Example 1-6. Administrative endpoint configuration

<system.serviceModel>
   <services>
      <service name = "MyNamespace.MyService">
         <endpoint
            address  = "http://localhost:8000/MyService"
            binding  = "wsHttpBinding"
            contract = "MyNamespace.IMyContract"
         />
      </service>
   </services>
</system.serviceModel>

When you specify the service and the contract type, you need to use fully qualified type names. I will omit the namespace in the examples throughout the remainder of this book, but you should use a namespace when applicable. Note that if the endpoint provides a base address, that address schema must be consistent with the binding, such as HTTP with WSHttpBinding. A mismatch causes an exception at service load time.

Example 1-7 shows a config file defining a single service that exposes multiple endpoints. You can configure multiple endpoints with the same base address as long as the URI is different.

Example 1-7. Multiple endpoints on the same service

<service name = "MyService">
   <endpoint
      address  = "http://localhost:8000/MyService"
      binding  = "wsHttpBinding"
      contract = "IMyContract"
   />
   <endpoint
      address  = "net.tcp://localhost:8001/MyService"
      binding  = "netTcpBinding"
      contract = "IMyContract"
   />
   <endpoint
      address  = "net.tcp://localhost:8002/MyService"
      binding  = "netTcpBinding"
      contract = "IMyOtherContract"
   />
</service>

Administrative configuration is the option of choice in the majority of cases because it provides the flexibility to change the service address, binding, and even exposed contracts without rebuilding and redeploying the service.

Using base addresses

In Example 1-7, each endpoint provided its own base address. When you provide an explicit base address, it overrides any base address the host may have provided.

You can also have multiple endpoints use the same base address, as long as the endpoint addresses differ in their URIs:

<service name = "MyService">
   <endpoint
      address  = "net.tcp://localhost:8001/MyService"
      binding  = "netTcpBinding"
      contract = "IMyContract"
   />
   <endpoint
      address  = "net.tcp://localhost:8001/MyOtherService"
      binding  = "netTcpBinding"
      contract = "IMyContract"
   />
</service>

Alternatively, if the host provides a base address with a matching transport schema, you can leave out the address. In this case, the endpoint address will be the same as the base address of the matching transport:

<endpoint
   binding  = "wsHttpBinding"
   contract = "IMyContract"
/>

If the host does not provide a matching base address, loading the service host will fail with an exception.

When you configure the endpoint address, you can add just the relative URI under the base address:

<endpoint
   address  = "SubAddress"
   binding  = "wsHttpBinding"
   contract = "IMyContract"
/>

The endpoint address in this case will be the matching base address plus the URI, and again, the host must provide a matching base address.

Binding configuration

You can use the config file to customize the binding used by the endpoint. To that end, add the bindingConfiguration tag to the endpoint section, and name a customized section in the bindings section of the config file. Example 1-8 demonstrates using this technique to enable transaction propagation. What the transactionFlow tag does is explained in Chapter 7.

Example 1-8. Service-side binding configuration

<system.serviceModel>
   <services>
      <service name = "MyService">
         <endpoint
            address  = "net.tcp://localhost:8000/MyService"
            bindingConfiguration = "TransactionalTCP"
            binding  = "netTcpBinding"
            contract = "IMyContract"
         />
         <endpoint
            address  = "net.tcp://localhost:8001/MyService"
            bindingConfiguration = "TransactionalTCP"
            binding  = "netTcpBinding"
            contract = "IMyOtherContract"
         />
      </service>
   </services>
   <bindings>
      <netTcpBinding>
         <binding name = "TransactionalTCP"
            transactionFlow = "true"
         />
      </netTcpBinding>
   </bindings>
</system.serviceModel>

As shown in Example 1-8, you can reuse the named binding configuration in multiple endpoints simply by referring to it.

Programmatic Endpoint Configuration

Programmatic endpoint configuration is equivalent to administrative configuration, but instead of resorting to a config file, you rely on programmatic calls to add endpoints to the ServiceHost instance. Again, these calls are always outside the scope of the service code. ServiceHost provides overloaded versions of the AddServiceEndpoint( ) method:

public class ServiceHost : ServiceHostBase
{
   public ServiceEndpoint AddServiceEndpoint(Type implementedContract,
                                             Binding binding,
                                             string address);
   //Additional members
}

You can provide AddServiceEndpoint( ) methods with either relative or absolute addresses, just as with a config file. Example 1-9 demonstrates programmatic configuration of the same endpoints as in Example 1-7.

Example 1-9. Service-side programmatic endpoint configuration

ServiceHost host = new ServiceHost(typeof(MyService));

Binding wsBinding  = new WSHttpBinding(  );
Binding tcpBinding = new NetTcpBinding(  );

host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IMyContract),wsBinding,
                        "http://localhost:8000/MyService");
host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IMyContract),tcpBinding,
                        "net.tcp://localhost:8001/MyService");
host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IMyOtherContract),tcpBinding,
                        "net.tcp://localhost:8002/MyService");

host.Open(  );

When you add an endpoint programmatically, the address is given as a string, the contract as a Type, and the binding as one of the subclasses of the abstract class Binding, as in:

public class NetTcpBinding : Binding,...
{...}

To rely on the host base address, provide an empty string if you want to use only the base address, or just the URI to use the base address plus that URI:

Uri tcpBaseAddress = new Uri("net.tcp://localhost:8000/");

ServiceHost host = new ServiceHost(typeof(MyService),tcpBaseAddress);

Binding tcpBinding = new NetTcpBinding(  );

//Use base address as address
host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IMyContract),tcpBinding,"");
//Add relative address
host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IMyContract),tcpBinding,"MyService");
//Ignore base address
host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IMyContract),tcpBinding,
                        "net.tcp://localhost:8001/MyService");
host.Open(  );

As with administrative configuration using a config file, the host must provide a matching base address; otherwise, an exception occurs. In fact, in terms of capabilities, there is no difference between programmatic and administrative configuration. When you use a config file, all WCF does is parse the file and execute the appropriate programmatic calls in its place.

Binding configuration

You can programmatically set the properties of the binding used. For example, here is the code required to enable transaction propagation (similar to Example 1-8):

ServiceHost host = new ServiceHost(typeof(MyService));
NetTcpBinding tcpBinding = new NetTcpBinding(  );

tcpBinding.TransactionFlow = true;

host.AddServiceEndpoint(typeof(IMyContract),tcpBinding,
                        "net.tcp://localhost:8000/MyService");
host.Open(  );

Note that when you're dealing with specific binding properties you typically interact with a concrete binding subclass, such as NetTcpBinding, rather than its abstract base class, Binding (as was done in Example 1-9).

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required