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WCF replacement for cross process/machine communication

| Wednesday, May 16, 2012
I ran across another post of someone looking to get rid of WCF on StackOverflow today. The post titled “WCF replacement for cross process/machine communication” goes into the typical complaints about configuration of WCF. I actually think this is the least of the issues I’ve had with WCF. Whatever your reason for looking to abandon WCF, this post is for you. A step-by-step walk-through to get up and running with protobuffers over Win32 rpc.

Step 1 – Gathering dependencies

For this post I’m going to be using VStudio 2008. The primary reason is to show the explicit use of NuGet rather than depending on Visual Studio to do it for us. Now let’s get started. Start by creating a new project in Visual Studio, for this I’m going to use a simple command-line application named “SampleProtoRpc”.

After you have created the project, right-click the project and select “New Folder” and type the name “Depends”. Now visit the NuGet project page and download the “NuGet.exe Command Line bootstrapper”. It should be a single file, “NuGet.exe”. Place this file in the newly created “Depends” directory. From a command-prompt, run NuGet.exe to ensure that you are up and running.

Now right-click the project and select the “Properites” from the bottom. In the properties window, click the “Build Events” tab on the left. In the “Pre-build event command line:” text box enter the following text:

"$(ProjectDir)Depends\NuGet.exe" INSTALL Google.ProtocolBuffers.Rpc -OutputDirectory "$(ProjectDir)Depends" -ExcludeVersion -Version 1.11.1016.3

You can update the version to the latest by checking the current version at The reason to use a fixed version is to prevent NuGet from constantly checking with the server to see if it has the latest version. By pinning the version number NuGet.exe will make a quick check and continue if it exists.

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