.NET Framework Communication

.NET Framework Roadmap

Clearly the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is Microsoft’s mainline technology for flexible, scalable, reliable, and secure inter-process communication (IPC) and Web services. It also supports Windows Message Queuing though the .NET Framework's System.Messaging namespace.

The .NET Framework also supports three other main IPC technologies: .NET Remoting, Enterprise Services, and ASP.NET. These alternate communication technologies may be of interest to developers for several primary reasons:

  • Related capabilities — Windows Communication Foundation is an infrastructure for communications only, whereas some of these other technologies provide other powerful capabilities. For example, ASP.NET enables developing and managing complex Web-based solutions that include rich, data-bound GUIs.

  • Backwards compatibility — many current applications use these technologies and Microsoft is dedicated to supporting them as long as they remain viable. Bug fixes and improvements to these IPC technologies enable applications built with .NET Framework Version 1.x to be easily upgraded to .NET Framework Version 2.

  • Specific communication advantages — although Windows Communication Foundation is very robust and capable, these other technologies may have certain advantages in specific communication areas. For example, ASP.NET combined with Web Service Enhancements (WSE) 3.0 has more complete and modern support for the WS-* protocols, and .NET Remoting requires much less overhead, especially for communication between applications on the same computer. For more information about the applicability of these communication technologies, see Connecting Technologies.

  • Adoption delay — Like any new technology, Windows Communication Foundation will take time to be adopted by organizations, especially those with detailed and rigorous standardization and certification applications. And although it will be made available down-level to Windows XP and Windows 2003 Server, these technologies are maximized for Windows Vista®.

Microsoft will be releasing guidelines for interoperation with and migration to Windows Communication Foundation from these other communication technologies.

This section summarizes the changes to these three .NET Framework communication technologies. For more information about these technologies, see the Windows SDK or the MSDN library (http://msdn.microsoft.com/) site. For more information about improvements in lower-level network support in the .NET Framework library, see .NET Framework 3.0 Managed Network Classes in Network Infrastructure Improvements.

The following sections document the new and modified features and the associated tool and type additions for each of the three existing IPC technologies in the .NET Framework as it changed from Version 1.1 to 2.0.