WCF Data Services 5.6 With JSON Support
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 04 October 2013

Microsoft has released Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Data Services 5.6 with support for Visual Studio 2013, portable libraries and direct support for Entity Framework 6+.

The Visual Studio 2013 support means that you can get Add Service Reference support for OData so you can consume OData Services. The Open Data Protocol, OData, is the data-sharing standard that makes it easier to share data between data consumers (clients) and producers (services).

The client-side libraries all now have portable library support, so you can use the new JSON format in Windows Phone and Windows Store apps. The core libraries have portable library support for .NET 4.0, Silverlight 5, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store apps. The WCF DS client has portable library support for .NET 4.5, Silverlight 5, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store apps.

One improvement that’s missing in the new version is that the work on making providers public has been reverted. The WCF Data Service Blog explains:

“we hoped to make it possible to override the behavior of included providers with respect to properties that don’t have native support in OData v3, for instance enum and spatial properties. Unfortunately we ran into some non-trivial bugs with $select and $orderby and needed to cut the feature for this release.”

However, the work on making the providers public has enabled the team to release a WCF Data Services Entity Framework Provider as an out-of-band provider to bridge the gap between WCF Data Services 5.6.0 and Entity Framework 6+. A pre-release (alpha1) version has been uploaded as a NuGet package.

Until now, the WCF Data Service stack required all OData services using it to inherit from DataService. Internally, the data service would determine whether the service should use the in-box EF provider, the in-box Reflection provider, or a custom provider. When support was added for EF 6, Microsoft utilized the new public provider functionality added in EF6 to allow the provider to ship separately.

While Entity Framework has been made open source, WCF is still mainly proprietary, though WCF RIA Services is likely to be open sourced soon, according to Microsoft's Jeff Handley. 

 

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