Planning for Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)

Retired Content

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Retired: November 2011

This topic starts with a discussion of the differences between XML Web services (ASMX) and services implemented using the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF). Many of these differences act as driving forces used to determine appropriate migration strategies. In addition, the design of a service being migrated also has a role in the migration strategy and in the development approach used to perform the migration.


The objectives of this guidance are to help you:

  • Learn about differences between ASMX and WCF services.
  • Understand different migration strategies and development approaches.
  • Learn how architectural choices affect migration.


This topic contains the following subtopics:

Migration: An Emerging Practice

This guidance is a patterns & practices "emerging practices" deliverable that provides architects and developers with early guidance on migrating from ASMX to WCF. Emerging practices is a form of guidance that is provided when products under development, the technology is changing rapidly, or there are external dependencies (in this case, on WCF). Emerging practices guidance differs from most patterns & practices deliverables, which are usually driven by proven field experience based on actual customer scenarios. However, in some cases, patterns & practices gives customers the chance to view guidance on emerging technologies. While this type of guidance can be subject to change, all emerging practices guidance undergoes the same rigorous validation as other patterns & practices deliverables and will eventually be formalized after the technology matures. The development team wants feedback from customers to help shape the final release of this deliverable. To provide feedback, please visit the Web Service Software Factory Community workspace.


Because of the emerging nature of this guidance, we recommend that individuals interested in understanding ASMX to WCF migration issues join the Community workspace.