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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Difference Between “Add Web Reference” and “Add Service Reference”


I was playing around with building a simple WCF ASP.NET client in Visual Studio 2008 and wanted to make a reference to my WCF service (that used basicHttpBinding).

I have built plenty of ASMX web services in the past so simply selected “Add Web Reference”, pointed to my .svc file hosted in IIS– everything worked as expected.
Then I checked the “Add Service Reference” menu option and thought – why this option is given?
In interview sometimes this question will be asked to check your understanding of web services.

Add Web Reference

It is a wrapper over wsdl.exe and can be used to create proxies for .NET 1.1 or 2.0 clients. Of course this means when you are pointing to a WCF service you have to be pointing to an endpoint that uses basicHttpBinding.

Add Service Reference 

It is a wrapper over svcutil.exe and also creates clients proxies (and additionally web.config entries). These proxies, however, can only be consumed by .NET 3.0+ clients.

Happy Coding!!

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