AJ's blog

March 28, 2015

WCF Policy – Part 11: Famous Last Words

Our policy works. Every aspect – defining the standard, switching it on, publishing the policy assertion, evaluating it for the client proxy, default behavior, and making the information accessible on client and server – contributes to a system where all pieces work together.

To get an overview and TOC, please refer to the initial post

The policy plays well with WCF. The application developer can switch the policy on, and everything else happens automatically (with minor exceptions, e.g. registering the policy importer). If needs be he can access the information similar to other built in information (again, with minor exceptions). This is very close to what’s provided by WCF out of the box.

And what’s more, it builds on standards that are not platform dependent: WSDL, WS-Policy, SOAP. Other platforms offer similar capabilities, for example Metro for the Java world. (This work is actually based on project where cross platform availability was demanded.)

 

On the other hand, we had to do quite a lot to make it work. Question is, when and why would you want to do this?

Having a WCF Policy is certainly nice. Building a WCF Policy however is something that needs to be decided carefully.

Creating policies is certainly not part of the every-day-work of the average developer. Rather it’s part of the foundation laid out by experienced developers or some framework team in the organization. Policies are also usually cross cutting concerns, orthogonal to the business demands, and perhaps optional. And finally the effort is only justifiable for demands occurring regularly.

The biggest obstacle in my opinion is that implementing a WCF Policy requires a familiarity with the internal workings of the WCF that goes beyond what the average developer – including service developers – need and usually have. On the other hand, should you have someone with that skill, then policies might be a means to provide complex demands to other application developers in a seamless and easy-to-use way, and shield them from WCF intricacies.

In other words: Custom WCF Policies may be a rare demand. But at times, and if circumstances allow, they can be very handy.

 

Did I forget something? Oh, yes. You can find the sample application on github

That’s all for now folks,
AJ.NET

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