UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration )



What Is UDDI?

Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) is a project to encourage interoperability and adoption of web services. It consists of a standards-based set of specifications which allow service description and discovery. The project was initiated by Ariba, IBM and Microsoft. It has now grown to a partnership of over 300 community members who collaborate to develop the specification. UDDI is not just a specification though. As part of its charter, it is also backed with a set of publicly available internet-based implementations. A UDDI registry is a set of one or more implementations which comply with the UDDI specification. The "UDDI Business Registry" is the name of a special set of UDDI implementations which member companies have provided for public access. Each implementation interoperates to share registrations.
UDDI addresses a number of business problems. For the mid-sized manufacturer which interacts with numerous on-line customers, each of whom has differing interfaces, each with their own set of standards and protocols, UDDI provides a way to broaden and simplify the use of B2B through web Service Description. For the flower shop in Australia which desires to be "plugged in" to every marketplace in the world but doesn't know how, UDDI offers a simple one-stop location for Service Discovery. For the B2B marketplace which needs to get catalog data for relevant suppliers in its industry, along with connections to shippers, insurers, etc., UDDI offers Easy Integration. Because UDDI provides a standards-based profile for all electronic services, it Enhances Accessibility.
The vision of the UDDI organization has been a three stage process. First, to build the specification on a set of recognized standards, such as XML and SOAP, and a shared vision of open protocols. Next, UDDI has been expanded into a common web services “stack.” Inter-operating implementations compliant with the UDDI specification avoid confusing customers. The specifications are public and are developed in an inclusive process. The final part of the vision is to transition the work to a standards body after completion of three cycles of implementation backed specification development. UDDI is currently in development of this third version of the specification.
Version 1 of the UDDI Specification was published in September, 2000. Public registry site implementations of the UDDI Business Registry have been in continuous operation ever since. Both IBM and Microsoft currently operate "nodes" (implementations) which make up the registry. The UDDI Version 2 Specification was published in June of 2001. Availability of Beta implementations is imminent. Both Hewlett Packard and SAP have announced their intention to operate public registry implementations as part of the UDDI Business Registry in the version 2 time frame as well. Version 3 of the UDDI Specification is currently under development.

2. How UDDI Works

A UDDI registry contains programmatic descriptions of businesses and the services they support. It also contains references to specifications (called Technical Models, or "tModels") which describe how web services work. It is built upon a programming model and schema which are platform and language agnostic.
Business and standards organizations are the primary source of registry information. Populating the registry has several steps. Software companies, standards bodies and programmers populate the registry with descriptions of various tModels which describe specifications common to an industry vertical or business. Businesses populate the registry with descriptions of the services they support. UDDI assigns a programmatically unique universal identifier (UUID) to each tModel and business registration and stores them in the registry. Marketplaces, search engines, and business applications then query the registry to discover services of other companies. Businesses then use this data to facilitate easier integration with each other over the web. This can then be a dynamic process where search and discovery automatically adapts to available services.
Business and service data in the registry can be thought of in three categories: "white pages," "yellow pages," and "green pages." White pages contain information about a business, such as its name, a set of multi-language text descriptions, and contact information such as addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, web sites, etc. It also consists of a set of optional Identifiers by which a business may be known, such a Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S® number, etc. Yellow pages consist of business categorizations. UDDI supports three built-in standard taxonomies in version 1. The NAICS taxonomy of industry codes; the UN/SPSC taxonomy of products & services; and a geographical taxonomy of location codes based on ISO 3166. Taxonomies are implemented as name-value pairs. Any valid taxonomy data can be attached to the business white page, or business service. Finally, Green pages specify how to bind to a service provider. They contain technical information about how to invoke a businesses service, including references to specifications for web services and support for pointers to various file and URL based discovery mechanisms, if required. UDDI uses a nested data model of Businesses, their Services and related Service Binding information.

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