UDDI listing akin to yellow pages

Webopedia.com defines Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (simply known nowadays as UDDI), as a Web-based distributed directory that enables businesses to list themselves on the Internet and discover each other, similar to a traditional phone book’s yellow and white pages.

UDDI is one standard, teetering on the edge of acceptance, wrapped into the bundle known as Web services – a standardized way of integrating Web-based applications using open standards over an IP backbone. It’s also used as a way to list which Web services are available.

Michael Flynn, senior product manager for developer tools at Microsoft Canada in Mississauga, Ont., defines Web services as the newest type of middleware.

This new middleware will allow developers to build services that will talk to each other when implemented.

Flynn said there needs to be a way for people to find the services being created with XML, WSDL and SOAP.

That’s where UDDI steps in. “It’s really like a phone book for us to look up what services are available and what they are built on,” he said.

According to Flynn, Microsoft, IBM and Ariba Inc. were the forerunners in starting the UDDI Project. Version 1 of UDDI was announced in September 2000. But so far, few companies are putting up services for public consumption. “A lot of companies want the privacy of having UDDI on their corporate server,” Flynn said.

George Zagelow, XML system manager at IBM Corp.’s Silicon Valley lab in San Jose, Calif., agreed that companies want to keep their services behind a firewall for now.

“The best way to get familiar with UDDI is to do it where it is lower risk,” Zagelow said, adding that placing services on a UDDI registry is fairly simple. Anyone looking for different business registries or the public UDDI project could check www.uddi.org. All information on public or private UDDI registries is encrypted.

Any company wishing to integrate an existing, and registered, Web service would contact the vendor through the directory and work out the partnership from there.

Zagelow said one of the benefits of building the directory as a public one was the ability to bring along portfolios of work for potential users to look at.

More than 350 companies have joined the UDDI community and are currently supporting, or planning to support, the standard, although they can support it by using private directories and not the public one.

Flynn said .Net now comes with a corporate UDDI server to help companies looking to build a directory in-house, allowing Microsoft customers and partners to have access to their Web services.

Version 3 of UDDI, available from OASIS (Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards), a not-for-profit global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of e-business standards, allows organizations to put digital signatures on their applications as well. It’s online at www.oasis-open.org.