VS2008: Add Service Reference Is Greatly Improved

18. September 2007 07:06

If you have worked much with WCF in the Visual Studio 2005 environment, you are probably aware of the Add Service Reference option in the context menu when a project is right clicked in Solution Explorer. 

When the menu option is clicked, it launches the Add Service Reference Dialog, which is a very simple prompt that uses svcutil in the background to generate a service proxy, configuration file, and adds a reference to System.ServiceModel for the project. 

Unfortunately, the simplicity of the input forces VS2005 to use a set of default options for svcutil.  As I have blogged in the past, svcutil has a large number of options.  If you need to use any of those options, you must resort to the command line utility rather than using Visual Studio.

Fortunately, this has been addressed in Visual Studio 2008.  There is a brand new Add Service Reference dialog.  The initial dialog has been enhanced a bit...


But, the really nice part is hidden until you click on the Advanced button of the dialog.  It launches a separate window that enables you to specify quite a few options for svcutil.  For example, it is now possible to generate a proxy that contains asynchronous methods from within Visual Studio.  There are also options to specify the type used for collections and dictionaries as well as any referenced types and assemblies.

There are still a lot of options that are only accessible by directly using svcutil via the command line.  However, VS2008 has addressed most of the major complaints from developers that like to use Visual Studio for managing their proxies.

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I'm a passionate software developer and advocate of the Microsoft .NET platform.  In my opinion, software development is a craft that necessitates a conscious effort to continually improve your skills rather than falling into the trap of complacency.  I was also awarded as a Microsoft MVP in Connected Systems in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

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