Christian Weyer led a very interesting discussion last night at the IrishDev meeting about the importance of Contract-First Web Service design.  What Visual Studio needs, in his estimation, is a good WSDL designer that would allow architects to focus on the service contract, instead of being fully abstracted away from the XML and working completely in .Net land.  The consequences of being so distanced from XML, he explained, include the potential for an architect to fail to think about the contract, and therefore design a brittle Web Service interface. 

Christian concluded by showing us his tool, WSCF, that allows you to design Web Services Contract First. It’s available at that link for free.

More commentary on a thought-provoking night from Marcus and Kieran.  Compliments to the IrishDev team, and particularly to Christian, who is a very funny and insightful speaker!  It takes presentation skills (and insightful subject matter) to keep a room full of people away from Guinness for almost two hours!

Christian has posted a link to the slides here, in zipped .pdf format, and Kieran has a link to the slides through his blog.  So you have lots of options for slide-downloading goodness :)