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Create RESTful WCF Service API: Step By Step Guide

, 30 Aug 2010 CPOL 723.5K 31K 393
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Step by Step Guide to create Restful WCF service API in ASP.NET and C#


Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is an SDK for developing and deploying services on Windows. WCF provides a runtime environment for your services, enabling you to expose CLR types as services, and to consume other services as CLR types. In this article, I am going to explain how to implement restful service API using WCF 4.0 . The Created API returns XML and JSON data using WCF attributes.

What is REST?

Based on the Roy Fielding theory "Representational State Transfer (REST), attempts to codify the architectural style and design constraints that make the Web what it is. REST emphasizes things like separation of concerns and layers, statelessness, and caching, which are common in many distributed architectures because of the benefits they provide. These benefits include interoperability, independent evolution, interception, improved scalability, efficiency, and overall performance."

Actually only the difference is how clients access our service. Normally, a WCF service will use SOAP, but if you build a REST service, clients will be accessing your service with a different architectural style (calls, serialization like JSON, etc.).

REST uses some common HTTP methods to insert/delete/update/retrieve information which is below:

  1. GET - Requests a specific representation of a resource
  2. PUT - Creates or updates a resource with the supplied representation
  3. DELETE - Deletes the specified resource
  4. POST - Submits data to be processed by the identified resource

Why and Where to Use REST?

Few days back, I was writing a service which was supposed to be accessed by heterogeneous language/platform/system. It can be used by iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, .NET web application, JAVA or PHP. Using web service, it was bit complex for me to expose it to everyone using uniform system. Then we decided to use REST, which was easily espoused over cloud. This was a great example which shows the capability of SIMPLE RESTful SERVICE Smile | :) . Below are some points which will help you to understand why to use the RESTful services.

  1. Less overhead (no SOAP envelope to wrap every call in)
  2. Less duplication (HTTP already represents operations like DELETE, PUT, GET, etc. that have to otherwise be represented in a SOAP envelope).
  3. More standardized - HTTP operations are well understood and operate consistently. Some SOAP implementations can get finicky.
  4. More human readable and testable (harder to test SOAP with just a browser).
  5. Don't need to use XML (well, you kind of don't have to for SOAP either but it hardly makes sense since you're already doing parsing of the envelope).
  6. Libraries have made SOAP (kind of) easy. But you are abstracting away a lot of redundancy underneath as I have noted. Yes, in theory, SOAP can go over other transports so as to avoid riding atop a layer doing similar things, but in reality just about all SOAP work you'll ever do is over HTTP.

Step by Step Guide

Generally, a developer is scared to use WCF because of a lot of confusing configuration. I will try to use minimum configuration so that it will be easier to understand for us. We will develop Restful WCS API in 6 steps. So let’s start now.


First of all launch Visual Studio 2010. Click FILE->NEW->PROJECT. Create new "WCF Service Application".


Once you create the project, you can see in solution that By Default WCF service and interface file are already created. Delete By default created file as we will create our own interface and WCF service file.


Now right click on solution and create one new WCF service file. I have given name to the service file as “RestServiceImpl.svc”.


As I explained at the start of the article that we will be writing an API which can return data in XML and JSON format, here is the interface for that. In IRestServiceImpl, add the following code:

In the above code, you can see two different methods of IRestService which are XMLData and JSONData. XMLData returns result in XML whereas JSONData in JSON.


Open the file RestServiceImpl.svc.cs and write the following code over there:


Now let’s move to configuration part which is the last one. There will be two basic parts of the configurations file which we must have to understand.


This part contains information about the End Point. Below are the code details.

Click to enlarge image


This part contains details about service and endpoint behavior.

And that’s it. Our Restful WCF service is ready for test purposes.

Service Ready to Test Now

Now I launch the application in the browser to see the result. I launch this service in Internet Explorer and my URL is now http://localhost:35798/RestServiceImpl.svc. Now if I use http://localhost:35798/RestServiceImpl.svc/xml/123 URL, I get the following response on the browser which is an XML format and that was my task to achieve.

Now if I use http://localhost:35798/RestServiceImpl.svc/json/123 URL, I get the following response on the browser which is an XML format and that was my task to achieve.

Hope the article is useful for the community. Comments, suggestions and criticisms are all welcome.


  • 30th August, 2010: Initial post


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

ashutosh k. shukla
Software Developer (Senior)
Singapore Singapore
A versatile person having 10 Years of IT Industry experience in software development on .NET and Android Technology.

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Comments and Discussions

Suggestiongreat example Pin
Member 105935315-Nov-14 8:05
memberMember 105935315-Nov-14 8:05 
QuestionVisual Studio 2013 crash when creating a WCF Service Application Pin
azprivat11-Sep-14 2:46
memberazprivat11-Sep-14 2:46 
QuestionWhat do you mean by statelessness? Pin
B41328-Jul-14 23:55
memberB41328-Jul-14 23:55 
AnswerRe: What do you mean by statelessness? Pin
ashutosh k. shukla29-Jul-14 15:55
memberashutosh k. shukla29-Jul-14 15:55 
GeneralRe: What do you mean by statelessness? Pin
Mihai Barbos12-Aug-14 23:39
memberMihai Barbos12-Aug-14 23:39 
GeneralGreat example Pin
nicolas mertens24-Jun-14 1:07
membernicolas mertens24-Jun-14 1:07 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Awadhendra Tripathi8-Jun-14 20:32
professionalAwadhendra Tripathi8-Jun-14 20:32 
QuestionCreate RESTful WCF Service using VB.NET Pin
IshaqSalam8-Jun-14 19:02
memberIshaqSalam8-Jun-14 19:02 
QuestionProblem while returning URL like returns http:/\ in JSON Pin
pavan_wani0728-May-14 0:05
memberpavan_wani0728-May-14 0:05 
QuestionRESTSERVICE unable to return values (ReadResponse() failed: The server did not return a response for this request. Server returned 0 bytes) Pin
pavan_wani0728-May-14 0:00
memberpavan_wani0728-May-14 0:00 
QuestionAt the beginning I couldn't get /xml/123 or /json/123 Pin
Alex161128-Apr-14 8:55
memberAlex161128-Apr-14 8:55 
Questionuseful Pin
Oscarw22-Apr-14 5:20
memberOscarw22-Apr-14 5:20 
QuestionASMX Application Pin
vinodhini sekar1-Apr-14 20:00
membervinodhini sekar1-Apr-14 20:00 
AnswerRe: ASMX Application Pin
JRASPEN30-May-14 8:40
memberJRASPEN30-May-14 8:40 
GeneralThank you very much, great example (-: Pin
Ran Partush29-Mar-14 5:49
memberRan Partush29-Mar-14 5:49 
QuestionGreat example! Pin
Member 460685218-Mar-14 9:35
memberMember 460685218-Mar-14 9:35 
SuggestionMessage Automatically Removed Pin
5-Mar-14 0:26
professionalRavi.Kumar0215-Mar-14 0:26 
QuestionXML works, JSON fails Pin
kevininstructor4-Mar-14 9:43
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GeneralLean and kean Pin
Duncan Edwards Jones3-Mar-14 10:37
professionalDuncan Edwards Jones3-Mar-14 10:37 
QuestionMy vote of 5 Pin
kszynter19-Feb-14 20:52
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QuestionMy vote of 5 Pin
maiteib11-Feb-14 2:12
membermaiteib11-Feb-14 2:12 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Member 1024241426-Dec-13 22:42
memberMember 1024241426-Dec-13 22:42 
QuestionI am unable to get the output as shown here Pin
Dinesh9217-Dec-13 18:30
memberDinesh9217-Dec-13 18:30 
QuestionVery good starting point Pin
Member 806624214-Nov-13 4:18
memberMember 806624214-Nov-13 4:18 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
mvrene12-Nov-13 13:37
membermvrene12-Nov-13 13:37 
QuestionMethod not allowed Pin
vvdhar21-Oct-13 5:39
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AnswerRe: Method not allowed Pin
jo1322-Nov-13 1:53
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GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Mario Gagnon20-Oct-13 5:43
memberMario Gagnon20-Oct-13 5:43 
General5 Stars!!! Pin
Member 1015311314-Oct-13 5:37
memberMember 1015311314-Oct-13 5:37 
GeneralVery Nice Article Pin
Jaymala Singh14-Oct-13 3:28
memberJaymala Singh14-Oct-13 3:28 
QuestionHow can i send secure data in WCF Pin
luckyjamal6-Oct-13 13:32
memberluckyjamal6-Oct-13 13:32 
AnswerRe: How can i send secure data in WCF Pin
Dinesh9217-Dec-13 18:41
memberDinesh9217-Dec-13 18:41 
QuestionNot localhost Pin
MMessell11-Sep-13 2:38
memberMMessell11-Sep-13 2:38 
AnswerRe: Not localhost Pin
ashutosh k. shukla15-Sep-13 20:39
memberashutosh k. shukla15-Sep-13 20:39 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Member 78137196-Sep-13 2:13
memberMember 78137196-Sep-13 2:13 
QuestionHow do I customize the response? Pin
eeidfn20-Aug-13 20:26
membereeidfn20-Aug-13 20:26 
QuestionQuestion in Steep 6 Pin
Túlio Cruz8-Jul-13 7:29
memberTúlio Cruz8-Jul-13 7:29 
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Piyush Trada4-Jul-13 3:52
memberPiyush Trada4-Jul-13 3:52 
QuestionCannot get the function work Pin
qingdaimsft4-Jul-13 0:40
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AnswerRe: Cannot get the function work Pin
mti027-Aug-13 10:57
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tolleyfam6-Jun-13 6:11
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Cristian Amarie28-Apr-13 0:03
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QuestionPost call with soap envelope Pin
Member 34719682-Apr-13 17:35
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Questioncall post with soap envelope Pin
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