What do you think? SharePoint doesn't support WCF

Posted on 10/2/2008 @ 10:48 PM in #SharePoint by | Feedback | 3779 views

PLEASE LEAVE COMMENTS ON THIS - Whether you agree or not. MSFT needs to hear your voice.

To put things in perspective,

  • SP2007 has included support for WF (Workflow Foundation) since the day it was released. WF and WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) were developed/released together.
  • WCF is perhaps the most mature, and best piece of .NET 3.x, considering WF, Cardspace, WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), and WCF. It certainly has had the widest acceptability.
  • The lack of WCF is a demonstratable bug in SharePoint 2007, and the fix is really simple.
  • Every cool new technology coming out of MSFT (Microsoft) includes WCF as it's communication layer. This includes Silverlight, .NET 3.5 extensions for AJAX, Astoria, the latest revs of the atlas tool kit etc. These technologies play nice with ASMX, and WCF is backwards compatible with ASMX, but who in the right mind would pick ASMX over WCF?
  • SharePoint ASMX's are not CLS compliant, and ASMX by it's very nature is flawed. No good support for auth, and the generated code in VS2005/08 sucks. WCF is a much much much better architected portion of .NET.
  • What? You are a .NET dev who wants to use .NET 3.0 or 3.5 and VS2008? Y'know SharePoint is a development platform - which officially speaking - won't let you develop using those? (Well but strictly officially speaking, you shouldn't use user controls, you use use VSeWSS over WSPBuilder, and you have no good supported way of branding Application.master .. just sayin'!)
    • Would you - the serious .NET dev, think of SP as a serious MSFT development platform, if it didn't support WCF?
  • The .NET thin development model, greatly improves the development experience on SharePoint. I have talked of this in various talks I have given.


Now, I might be crazy, I might be off my rocker, and plain simple I might be nuts.

So I'm asking you, and frankly, MSFT needs to hear from YOU. The question is ---->

Should SharePoint 2007 include WCF support?

Whether you agree or disagree, please leave a comment with your thoughts and reasons.

Sound off but keep it civil:

Older comments..

On 10/1/2008 11:21:32 PM Matt Milner said ..
I think it is a shame not to support it, as it makes writing services so much simpler, and provides great support for ajax and all the rich UI tools coming out. I can't see a good reason why they wouldn't support it, or how it could cause any problems with their existing code and programming model.

On 10/1/2008 11:26:30 PM Deepak said ..
SharePoint should support WCF. The framework i.e .Net is moving more towards unified ways of doing things. When SharePoint starts going on its own tangent, it created a mismatch and revokes the "unified way of doing things" paradigm. Developing for SharePoint should be no different than developing with any other .NET technology. Thus my vote is YES SharePoint should support WCF.

On 10/2/2008 12:28:06 AM Geoff Snowman said ..
What would it mean for SharePoint to support WCF? What would be the functionality of WCF in SharePoint?

On 10/2/2008 12:33:56 AM Sahil Malik said ..

Currently you cannot deploy a WCF endpoint in SharePoint, i.e. it is not possible to deploy WCF code to SharePoint that runs as a part of SharePoint.

There are workarounds that I have published on codeplex and as numerous articles, but the platform should not need such band-aids.


On 10/2/2008 1:39:05 AM Martin Kulov said ..
Of course it should include it and probably it will, the question is when.

What does MS say about the current situation and future plans?

On 10/2/2008 5:48:16 AM Peter Wiens said ..
Certainly wcf ist a must have for sp. As posted before if I have to develop a service I do not want to care if it must be a SOAP service or an tcpip service or any other binding.

On 10/2/2008 6:00:40 AM Mitch Denny said ..
Hrm. Interesting. Even if it did include WCF support, it'd need to be a standard binding. And probably one that a broad range of platforms could support - including traditional SoapHttpClientProtocol implementations.

On 10/2/2008 6:08:41 AM Sahil Malik said ..
Mitch - why would it have to be only basic or ws httpBinding?

On 10/2/2008 10:52:15 AM Ryan Miller said ..
Oh, I think they have to support it. These things are part of the framework and can be installed & uninstalled through solution files. I don't even see how support is a question.

I can see MS saying they don't intend to put a WCF layer over their existing SP web services.

Is there a KB article that says they don't support WCF? This is the first I've heard it questioned.

On 10/2/2008 11:02:57 AM Sahil Malik said ..
Ryan, they're just mum about it. :). But if you simply copy paste a WCF endpoint inside SP .. it won't work. I've written numerous articles on how you can make WCF work inside SP though. It works .. just not OOTB.

On 10/2/2008 11:22:32 AM Miha Markic said ..
I think this lack of WCF support in SP just adds to the list named "silly issues with MS" where issues like "TFS won't run on x64", "getting video to a texture is way overcomplicated", "capturing video on windows mobile using Compact Framework is impossible" are stored.

On 10/3/2008 10:07:56 PM Jeremy Thake said ..
I completely agree with you Sahil. I cannot see any reason why they should not move this onto WCF. Microsoft wrote their own persistance store underneath WF and didn't invest the time to integrate WCF.

This would be an extreme advantage to interop for the SharePoint Platform. It also gives lots of benefits for end points to scale out the Platform, for example, having a Message Queue to handle load on calls would be an awesome way of not thrashing the SharePoint server.

On 10/6/2008 9:35:58 AM Rob Garrett said ..
Does anyone know if the next version of SharePoint (Office 14) will include support for WCF? Knowing MS they probably have it on the roadmap.

On 10/6/2008 11:06:41 AM Sahil Malik said ..
Rob -

I don't think vCurrent will change @ all.

If we bitched enough, vNext would include WCF support I think.


On 10/21/2008 5:00:19 PM William Gates said ..
Honestly folks - we are working on the issue.

When we release SharePoint & Office 2012, you'll have your needs met.



On 10/21/2008 6:03:14 PM Sahil Malik said ..
Yeah you're Bill Gates, and I'm Queen Elizabeth .. I'm just in disguise!

On 1/28/2009 2:28:31 PM Anon said ..
Given the complexity of doing things with the web service, the fact that they are not in WCF is a trivial concern.

There should be a proper API that can be used remotely, but expecting a clean .Net API from the Office group seems to be a pipe dream.

On 2/19/2009 1:34:15 AM Richard Matovu said ..
Honestly, I was very dissappointed when I found out the SharePoint doesn't support WCF because I read more about why I needed to change over from the ordinarily web services to WCF and I thought that was great.

After spending time understanding WCF and I found out that it wasn't supported yet I thought that it was obvious since all these technologies are from Microsoft and thought that they had planned for it in advance.

However, I got working the InfoPath forms and the WCF service BUT now I am wondering if it is possible to integrate the form with the workflow I created in InfoPath? Any suggestions will be very appreciated.