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Creating a WebService from scratch

Fastest way to get started is to create a project with ServiceStack’s VS.NET Templates. In addition to this, there are a number of great walk-thru’s into ServiceStack in the Community Resources section below. Like this detailed walk-thru with Screenshots by @nilsnagele.

Step 1: Create an application

ServiceStack can be hosted in a few ways: console application, windows service, ASP.NET Web Form or MVC in IIS, etc.

For this tutorial, an empty ASP.NET Web Application (non MVC) is assumed.

Step 2: Install ServiceStack

To install ServiceStack into your application, you have two options to get the binaries:


Install-Pacakage ServiceStack

Tip: You can find an explanation about all NuGet packages which ServiceStack offers here. The package above only adds the binaries, but there also exist some packages which add the required configurations etc.

Register ServiceStack Handler

After you’ve added the binaries, you need to register ServiceStack in web.config:

If you want to host ServiceStack at root path (/), you should use this configuration:

<!-- For IIS 6.0/Mono -->
    <add path="*" type="ServiceStack.HttpHandlerFactory, ServiceStack" verb="*"/>

<!-- For IIS 7.0+ -->
  <validation validateIntegratedModeConfiguration="false" />
    <add path="*" name="ServiceStack.Factory" preCondition="integratedMode" 
         type="ServiceStack.HttpHandlerFactory, ServiceStack" 
         verb="*" resourceType="Unspecified" allowPathInfo="true" />

Tip: If you want to host your webservice on a custom path to avoid conflicts with another web framework (eg ASP.Net MVC), see Run ServiceStack side-by-side with another web framework.

Note: Due to limitations in IIS 6 - host ServiceStack at a /custompath which must end with .ashx, e.g: path="api.ashx"

Step 3: Create your first webservice

If Global.asax.cs doesn’t already exist you have to add it manually. To do this Right-click on your project and go Add -> New Item, then select the Global Application class.

Each service in ServiceStack consists of three parts:

  • Request DTO
  • Service implementation
  • Response DTO

That’s the core philosophy in ServiceStack. Each service has a strongly-typed, code-first (normal POCOs) request DTO and response DTO. You can read a detailed explanation what advantages exist if you’re using DTOs in the ReadMe or in [Why should I use ServiceStack?] (/why-servicestack).

1) Create the name of your Web Service (i.e. the Request DTO)

public class Hello
    public string Name { get; set; }

2) Define what your Web Service will return (i.e. Response DTO)

public class HelloResponse
    public string Result { get; set; }

3) Create your Web Service implementation

public class HelloService : Service
    public object Any(Hello request)
        return new HelloResponse { Result = "Hello, " + request.Name };

Step 4: Registering your web services and starting your application

The final step is to configure setup to tell ServiceStack where to find your web services. To do that, add this code to your Global.asax.cs:

public class Global : System.Web.HttpApplication
    public class AppHost : AppHostBase
        //Tell ServiceStack the name of your application and where to find your services
        public AppHost() : base("Hello Web Services", typeof(HelloService).Assembly) { }

        public override void Configure(Funq.Container container)
            //register any dependencies your services use, e.g:
            //container.Register<ICacheClient>(new MemoryCacheClient());

    //Initialize your application singleton
    protected void Application_Start(object sender, EventArgs e)
        new AppHost().Init();

Done! You now have a working application :)

As you can see, you have created an AppHost. Mainly all configuration related to ServiceStack is made in the AppHost. It’s the starting point in your application.

Disable WebApi from the default MVC4 VS.NET template

If you are using MVC4 then you need to comment line in global.asax.cs to disable WebApi


ServiceStack is now Ready!

Now that you have a working Web Service lets see what ServiceStack does for you out of the box:

If everything is configured correctly you can go to http://<root_path>/metadata to see a list of your web services and the various end points its available on.

Metadata page

Tip: In the screenshot the root path is http://localhost/ServiceStack.Hello/servicestack. On your development box the root path might be something like http://localhost:60335 (ie the URL on which your webservice is hosted).

Let’s access the HelloWorld service you created in your browser, so write the following URL in your address bar:

GET http://<root_path>/hello/YourName eg http://example.org/hello/Max.

As you can see after clicking on this link, ServiceStack also contains a HTML response format, which makes the XML/Json (…) output human-readable. To change the return format to Json, simply add ?format=json to the end of the URL. You’ll learn more about formats, endpoints (URLs, etc) when you continue reading the documentation.


If you happen to generate requests from the wsdls with a tool like soapUI you may end up with an incorrectly generated request like this:

<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-envelope" xmlns:typ="http://schemas.servicestack.net/types">

You can resolve this issue by adding the following line to your AssemblyInfo file csharp [assembly: ContractNamespace("http://schemas.servicestack.net/types", ClrNamespace = "<YOUR NAMESPACE>")]

Rebuild and regenerate the request from the updated wsdl. You should get a correct request this time.

<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="http://www.w3.org/2003/05/soap-envelope" xmlns:typ="http://schemas.servicestack.net/types">

Explore more ServiceStack features

The EmailContacts solution is a new guidance available that walks through the recommended setup and physical layout structure of typical medium-sized ServiceStack projects, including complete documentation of how to create the solution from scratch, whilst explaining all the ServiceStack features it makes use of along the way.

Community Resources