Happy Thursday everyone,

Earlier this afternoon, the WCF REST team released the second preview release of the WCF REST Starter Kit onto CodePlex. Today’s release adds new client capabilities that we think should really make client-side REST development easier. Chief among the new functionality included in Preview 2 is a new class that provides a staged pipeline model for requesting resources over the web. Using this new HTTP client class allows the developer to plug into the various stages of communication to handle custom authentication, caching, and fault handling outside of the client’s application logic.

For those new to the WCF REST Starter Kit – it’s a collection of preview functionality that makes use of WCF to implement REST architectural patterns. The kit includes new features, Visual Studio templates, samples and guidance that enable users to create REST style services using WCF. The goal of the kit is to provide a toolset that simplifies building RESTful services today, and to get feedback from you on the features provided in the WCF REST Starter Kit – feedback that will shape future REST capabilities in WCF, in .NET 4 and beyond.

The initial release of the WCF REST Starter Kit (in October, 2008) focused on building server-side REST services, with a heavy focus on the Visual Studio project templates that help developers get a jump start developing in a RESTful manner. Since the October release, the team has received some excellent feedback and added a few additional team members, Ron Jacobs (the top evangelist around all things Workflow and WCF) has created a few hands on labs, and Aaron Skonnard has done a few screencasts for the kit.

With the release of these new bits, it’s my pleasure to also announce the following:

  • Updated REST in WCF Dev Center on MSDN: The MSDN Dev Center for REST in WCF has been updated to account for the wider topic of REST in WCF, rather than purely focusing on the REST Starter Kit. In the coming weeks, we will be adding blog feeds to the site (similar to the parent WCF Dev Center).

  • Updated Hands On Labs: Ron has updated his WCF REST hands on labs, which contains labs that cover both REST development using WCF in .NET 3.5 SP1, as well as developing using the WCF REST Starter Kit. The labs provide an excellent guided tour for the newbie in all of us.

  • New WCF REST Sample Application: The product management crew here has been working to develop a sample application that demonstrates how to make use of the WCF REST Starter Kit on the client and server to create a training portal. The application is pretty sweet, and we look forward to sharing more information about this in the coming week.

  • New Screencasts: We’ve also been working with Aaron to get some new screencasts on the new features in the new preview of the WCF REST Starter Kit. The new screencasts should start landing onto the Endpoint show on Channel9 in the coming week.

We’re hoping that you download the latest preview release and give it a try. Feel free to drop into the WCF REST Starter Kit forum over on the ASP.NET site and give us feedback. The team is on the forum daily, and is using the feedback to tweak and improve the features and functionality.