Create Custom WCF Service in SharePoint2010

In SharePoint 2007, creating a custom Web Service was not so easy. However, web services are obsolete in SharePoint 2010. Rather new and recommended approach is to develop WCF Service. So the question comes up, “How much difficult it is to create a custom WCF service in SharePoint 2010?”. I’m going to answer the question just right in this blog.

Install CKS development tools edition

For showing how easily you can develop your own Custom WCF Service in SharePoint 2010, I’m going to use a open source Visual Studio 2010 extension know asCommunity Kit for SharePoint: Development Tools Edition. This tool will make the WCF service development much easier. It’ll automate tasks that you would have to do manually. There are two version of the extensions: One for SharePoint Foundation and another one is for SharePoint Server. Download the appropriate version and install.

Create WCF Service

Once you installed the CKSDev Visual Studio extension, you can open a SharePoint Project. In the SharePoint Project, right click on the project and try to add a new item. In the “Add New Item” dialog, you will find some new items added by CKSDev Visual Studio extension. Please select the option “WCF Service (CKSDev)” for new item as shown below:
Figure 1: ‘Add New WCF Service’ option ‘add new item’ dialog

Once you add the WCF Service, two files will be added by the dialog. One is the service interface and another is the Service itself.

Modify Service Types

As defined in MSDN, there are three different service types. Most of the time you need SOAP service. But if you need REST or ADO.NET Data service you can modify the service types by modifying the service factory as sown in the figure 2. The following table shows the three service types and their service factory name.
Service TypeService FactoryDescription
SOAP serviceMultipleBaseAddressBasicHttpBindingServiceHostFactoryBasic HTTP binding must be used, which creates endpoints for a service based on the basic HTTP binding.
REST ServiceMultipleBaseAddressWebServiceHostFactoryThe service factory creates endpoints with Web bindings.
ADO.NET Data ServiceMultipleBaseAddressDataServiceHostFactoryA data service host factory can be used.
When you create service with CKSDev tool, the default service generated is SOAP service. If you want to change the service type, please modify the factory in .svc file as shown below:
Figure 2: Service Factory defined in SVC file.

Deploy the Service

Once you are done with the service development, you are ready to deploy. But where you want to deploy the service? By default SharePoint service are kept in ISAPIdirectory. However, CKSDev deploy the service in ISAPI\ProjectNameSpace path as shown below:
Figure 3: Service deployment location
Once you define the service deployment location as shown in the figure 3, you can deploy the solution.

Access the Custom WCF Service

After Service deploy, you need to use the service in another projects. First try to access the service in browser. But remember you need to access the MEX endpoint either you will not get the service accessible in browser. To access the MEX endpoint, you should add “/MEX” at the end of the service name as shown below:
Figure 4: Access WCF Service MEX endpoint.

Finally try to add the service reference in a project using Visual Studio’s ‘Add Service Reference’ dialog as shown below:
Figure 5: Add Service Reference


So the steps described in this post are pretty simple:
  • Make sure you have downloaded and installed CKSDev Visual Studio extension.
  • Create a WCF Service (CKSDev) in the project. And if necessary, modify the service type
  • Deploy the solution and if necessary, change the deployment path.
  • Access the service MEX endpoint.