WCF Visual Studio Templates

Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Visual Studio templates are predefined project and item templates you can use in Visual Studio to quickly build WCF services and surrounding applications.

Using the WCF Templates

WCF Visual Studio templates provide a basic class structure for service development. Specifically, these templates provide the basic definitions for service contract, data contract, service implementation, and configuration. You can use these templates to create a simple service with minimal code interaction, as well as a building block for more advanced services.

WCF Service Library Project Template

The WCF Service Library project template is available in the new project dialog box under Visual C#\WCF and Visual Basic\WCF.

When you create a new project using the WCF Service template, the new project automatically includes the following three files:

  • Service contract file (IService1.cs or IService1.vb). The service contract file is an interface that has WCF service attributes applied. This file provides a definition of a simple service to show you how to define your services, and includes parameter-based operations and a simple data contract sample. This is the default file displayed in the code editor after creating a WCF service project.

  • Service implementation file (Service1.cs or Service1.vb). The service implementation file implements the contract defined in the service contract file.

  • Application configuration file (App.config). The configuration file provides the basic elements of a WCF service model with a secure HTTP binding. It also includes an endpoint for the service and enables metadata exchange.


Visual Studio is configured to recognize the App.config file as the configuration file for the project when it is run using the WCF Service Host (WcfSvcHost.exe), which is the default configuration. If you host the service library in an executable, you have to move the configuration code to the configuration file of the executable, as configuration files for DLLs are not valid.

WCF Service Application Template

The WCF Service Application template is available in the New Project dialog box under Visual C#\WCF and Visual Basic\WCF.

When you create a new project using the WCF Web Application Service template, the project includes the following four files:

  • Service host file (service1.svc).

  • Service contract file (IService1.cs or IService1.vb).

  • Service implementation file (Service1.svc.cs or Service1.svc.vb).

  • Web configuration file (Web.config).

The template automatically creates a Web site (to be deployed to a virtual directory) and hosts a service in it.

WCF Web Site Template

The WCF Web Site template is available in the New Project dialog box under Visual C#\Web Site\WCF Service and Visual Basic\Web Site\WCF Service. This creates the same files as the WCF Service Application template but organizes it as if it were a ASP.NET web site. App_Code and App_Data folders are created.

WCF Service Item Template

The WCF Service Item template is a custom template that provides a quick way to add WCF services to your existing Visual Studio projects.

To use this template, go to the Solution Explorer pane, right-click your project name, point to Add, and then click New Item to launch the Add New Item dialog box.

The service interface and implementation files are placed in the root project folder.

The template attempts to merge the configuration section of the new service to the existing configuration file, if they are compatible types.

A service host file (service1.svc) is also created if the existing project is a Web project.

WCF WF Service Project and Item Template.

These templates create WCF services that host a Workflow Service, which is a workflow that can be accessed like a web service. Separate templates exist for XAML or imperative programming models. Using the templates, you can create sequential or state machine workflow. For more information on these types of workflow, see Windows Workflow Foundation Tutorials. For more information about creating workflow projects, see Creating Legacy Workflow Projects.

Visual Studio designer is more responsive when XOML type workflows are used instead of code based ones. XOML workflow is the default workflow type to be created.

WCF Syndication Service Library Template

This template enables you to expose your feed in the RSS or ATOM format as a WCF service. For more information, see WCF Syndication.

Changing the Address of the Feed

The syndication template uses Internet Explorer during execution. When you right-click your project in Solutions Explorer in Visual Studio, select Properties, then select the Debug tab and you can see the default address of the template. Internet Explorer attempts to open the feed at this address.

If you change the address of your feed, you must also change the address in the Debug tab. If you do not do this, Internet Explorer attempts to open the feed at the default address and fail.

AJAX enabled WCF Service Item Template

This template exposes an AJAX control as a WCF service. For more information on AJAX controls, see the AJAX control documentation.

Silverlight-enabled WCF Service Item Template

This template creates a Web service that provides data to a Silverlight client or front-end. The template can be added to a Web site or Web application project to create a WCF service, which includes service code and configuration that support communicating with a Silverlight client. You can then use Add Service Reference to add a client proxy of the service to the client, and exchange data between the Silverlight client and the Silverlight-enabled WCF service.

To access this template, right-click a Web site or Web application project in Solution Explorer, click Add a new item, and click Silverlight-enabled WCF Service.


The Silverlight-enabled WCF Service exposes a basicHttpBinding endpoint without enabling any security settings. Therefore, information about the service can be obtained by all clients that connect to this service. Messages exchanged between the service and the client are also not signed or encrypted. To secure the endpoint properly, you should use ASP.NET authentication, HTTPS or other mechanisms.

See Also

WCF Service Host (WcfSvcHost.exe)
WCF Test Client (WcfTestClient.exe)