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Checking a Web service for version changes at runtime

I have created a Web service that is referenced in Winforms. At runtime, I need to check if there is any change in the ASP.NET Web service, and if so, update the client side reference. Please let me know a way to do this programmatically. Any URI's or resource centers would be of real help.

Your question illuminates a current challenge for Web services developers. Specifically, once a Web service is "published" how do we deal with changes? The current tools and specifications provide little support for versioning. Even more challenging, since there are only a limited number of non-trivial Web services projects running today, there are few, tested best-practices around Web services operational issues such as versioning. So with that glum introduction, here is what I can tell you.

First, the problem of interface versioning is not unique to Web services. Any software that must integrate with other software does so through an interface. Interfaces range from function call interfaces, to file interfaces to ports on the network that perform specific tasks. Once you have an interface, you typically need a way to describe this interface to the outside world so other folks can interact with your software. This is done by separating the description of the interface from the implementation of the interface. The most common example is the C/C++ header file that contains the prototypes for classes, methods and functions that a developer creates. These files tell other implementers and their tools (e.g., the compiler) how to interact with the developer's compiled code libraries.

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