Data Contract in WCF is an agreement between parties (i.e. a service and a client) that describes what type of data will be exchanged between them? On the other hand, Message Contract describes the structure of SOAP message that is passed between parties (i.e. a service and a client).
Reference books, you may like:Programming WCF Services: Design and Build Maintainable Service-Oriented Systems
WCF Multi-Layer Services Development with Entity Framework, 4th Edition
Learning WCF: A Hands-on Guide
Using Data Contract, we control the contents (i.e. Payload data or message body) of a SOAP message while Message Contract provides complete control over structure of SOAP message.
|Data Contract||Message Contract|
|Data Contract allows us to control the name and order of XML element||Message Contract gives the full control on message and Message body. It allows us to change the header and body of XML.|
|Data Contract is an agreement between Client and Service||Message Contract is the structure of XML that is exchanged between Client and Service|
|Using Data contract, we control payload and message of the body||Using Message contract,we control behaviour and structure of the XML message|
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