Putting a new infrastructure in place so that enterprises can exchange Web services data via the Internet is a complex process, so the UDDI Project, which now has some 300 member companies, separated the work on its standard into three phases. Versions 1 and 2 of the specification are finished; Version 3 is expected to be wrapped up this summer.
UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) Version 1, which was completed in September 2000, was developed by a group of 50 companies led by IBM, Microsoft Corp., Ariba Inc., American Express Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. It defines business units and describes basic services. The standards three sections help users find information about Web services: The White Pages describe companies and provide contact information and business identifier numbers; the Yellow Pages list the categories of business served by each company, including geography, industry and product mix; and the Green Pages contain guidelines on how to conduct e-commerce transactions with each company, including information on business processes and data format.
This release is the foundation for the latest UDDI products as well as software used to support UDDI Global Business Registries operated by IBM and Microsoft and being built by Hewlett-Packard Co.
In June 2001, the UDDI Project—then numbering 200 member companies—completed Version 2 of the standard, which features the following enhancements:
Descriptions of complex organizations. Businesses can now describe and publish their organizational structure, including business units, departments, divisions and subsidiaries.
Improved support for international organizations. Businesses can now provide details about products and services in multiple languages.
Additional categorization and identifier schemes. Corporations can use industry-specific categories and identifiers to describe their businesses. For example, a chemical company can use existing industry-specific categories to describe itself, its products and its services.
More-robust searching options. Companies can now search the registry using a wider range of query parameters, more fields and more-complex combinations of fields. New options include wild-card support and enhanced searching abilities across multiple categories.
Stronger business relationship modeling. This capability allows the modeling of large businesses, complex organizational structures, or various business units and services within UDDI. Modeling business relationships provides the opportunity to make a variety of those relationships—including certifications, alliances and memberships—visible to customers and business partners.
In addition, Version 2 has a replication capability that enables the various UDDI Global Business Registries to exchange information more easily. HP, IBM and Microsoft said they expect their registries to support Version 2 this spring.
Version 3 is being designed to enhance the standards support for private trading exchanges. For instance, improved security is one area of concentration: Companies will be able to track the source of registry information in a registry and whether it has been altered.
In addition, companies will have more naming latitude. "In Japan, a company may have an informal and formal name, so this release will enable it to list both," said Bob Sutor, director of e-business strategy at IBM, in Somers, N.Y.
In developing specifications, the UDDI Project solicits members input. After managing the process through the development of Version 3, the ad hoc standards group expects to hand future development work over to an established standards body, although it wouldnt say which one, and turn control of any licensing rights and intellectual property over to a third party, possibly the standards body. The UDDI Project, in Orcas Island, Wash., said it expects to decide which organizations will become responsible for those things by summer.