******Updated on Feb 2016********
It is a framework for building service-oriented applications. Using WCF, you can send data as asynchronous messages from one service endpoint to another. A service endpoint can be part of a continuously available service hosted by IIS, or it can be a service hosted in an application. An endpoint can be a client of a service that requests data from a service endpoint. The messages can be as simple as a single character or word sent as XML, or as complex as a stream of binary data.
A server-side web API is a programmatic interface to a defined request-response message system, typically expressed in JSON or XML, which is exposed via the webâ€”most commonly by means of an HTTP-based web server