How do I add SOAP headers to an outgoing request?
There are a few different ways to add headers to a message depending on how you need to control the header content and where you need to insert the header. I like to think of these methods as being split among the application, the proxy, and the protocol.
In your application code you can create an OperationContextScope around the request in order to change some of the request properties. Inside an OperationContextScope, you have a valid instance of OperationContext.Current, which allows manipulation of the message headers through the OutgoingMessageHeaders collection. Use of this method deeply bakes control of the headers into the application code. You would have to be responsible for copying the appropriate code wherever it was needed.
Now, assume that you want the header to be present whenever you're talking to a particular service and the header value can be determined consistently. Rather than having to put the same code at each call site, you can centralize the code in the proxy or in a protocol.
The simplest way to centralize header manipulation in the proxy is to create an instance of the IClientMessageInspector and attach that to the proxy. This gives you a hook for every message going through the proxy to modify the message headers.
An instance of IChannel similarly gives you a hook for every message going through the channel stack to modify the message headers. Using the Message Interceptor sample gives you an extensibility point in the binding that is similar in spirit to the extensibility point provided by a message inspector.
The primary difference from your perspective of a message inspector and a channel is a matter of timing. A message inspector always runs before any of the protocols in the binding while a channel can be positioned precisely in the protocol stack. In most cases you don't need precise positioning, so you should go with the simpler approach.
Next time: Adding Headers to a Call (HTTP Version)