Cross-posted from the Silverlight Web Services Team Blog.
Just a quick announcement here of a release that will be interesting to Silverlight developers who want to access REST services. The WCF REST Starter Kit Preview 2 is now out, go grab it at http://msdn.com/wcf/rest. The release gives you a polished install/uninstall experience, so don’t be afraid to try it on your box, it won’t muck it up like “preview” software so frequently does.
This release gives you one interesting client-side feature that you may have heard me or Eugene speak about: Paste XML as Types. It’s a VS menu item which helps you use XmlSerializer with REST services. Frequently these services use human-readable documentation to describe the XML shape, and it is difficult to hand-code a type to use with XmlSerializer, especially when the XML instance is complex. For example check out this sample XML response from the Yahoo BOSS API. With this new feature it takes one click to generate the type:
Another interesting feature in the release is HttpClient – a sort of specialized WebClient – which can be used to programmatically access REST services using an extensible model for sending HTTP requests and processing HTTP responses. The model enables you to complete common HTTP/REST development activities required to consume an existing service in a fraction of the time you normally spend. Some convenient time-savers include query string support (build URIs as name/value pairs) and serialization support (easily plug in types generated with Paste XML as Types to read the response).
Unfortunately in this release the starter kit only contains a .Net version of HttpClient, which will not compile in Silverlight. We are considering porting this prototype to Silverilght, and if you get a chance to try it on .Net, please let us know of any feedback you have.
Yavor Georgiev, Program Manager
Connected Framework Team