What are the differences between WCF and ASMX web services?

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I am totally confused between WCF and ASMX web services. I have used a lot of web services in my earlier stage, and now there is this new thing introduced called WCF. I can still create WCF that function as a web service. I think there will be more stuff in WCF.

What are the differences between WCF and Web services? When should each one be used?


Keith Elder nicely compares ASMX to WCF here. Check it out.

Another comparison of ASMX and WCF can be found here - I don't 100% agree with all the points there, but it might give you an idea.

WCF is basically "ASMX on stereoids" - it can be all that ASMX could - plus a lot more!.

ASMX is:

  • easy and simple to write and configure
  • only available in IIS
  • only callable from HTTP

WCF can be:

  • hosted in IIS, a Windows Service, a Winforms application, a console app - you have total freedom
  • used with HTTP (REST and SOAP), TCP/IP, MSMQ and many more protocols

In short: WCF is here to replace ASMX fully.

Check out the WCF Developer Center on MSDN.

Update: link seems to be dead - try this: What Is Windows Communication Foundation?