WCF Tutorial: WCF Overview (part 1 of 3)

Just a stub first:

WCF is Windows Communications Foundation
By default, it sends message using SOAP protocol by serializing data structures into XML.
For serialization, it specifies the DataContract and DataMember attributes.
For Interface programming, it specifies the ServiceContract and OperationContract attributes.
For Error and Exception handling, it specifies the FaultContract attribute.

Language agnostic (the only thing fixed is SOAP) such that JAVA or other apps can consume the services.
Hide implementation and expose only interface specific faults (as oppoosed to Exceptions)

A WCF service is typically compiled as an independant DLL that can be hosted by one of several methods i.e. IIS, Windows Service or Self-hosted e.g. in a WinForms application, WPF application.

The Microsoft .NET 4.0 framework with Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 provide some magic code and convenient designer UI to build both the WCF service and the client.