UDDI v2 Enters Beta Implementation Phase

Version two of the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration Business Registry was implemented as a beta today, moving the v2 specification one step closer to public release.

Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Microsoft and SAP each launched UDDI sites that conform to v2, giving Web services developers the opportunity to test out the next iteration of the much-hyped registry technology.

For HP and SAP, the v2 site is their first launch since joining IBM and Microsoft as UDDI node operators. As such, IBM and Microsoft offer the only points of contact for the v1 spec., which is currently the live version of UDDI.

“It just didn’t make sense for [HP and SAP] to come out with a v1 site,” says Scott Cosby, manager of Web services marketing for IBM. Both HP and SAP didn’t become node operators until after the v1 specification was first implemented in November of last year.

For proponents of Web services, the progression of UDDI is viewed as critical to the widespread adoption of the Web services model. A standards-based registry has been touted as necessary for the free and open exchange of Web services on the Internet. But obstacles still need to be overcome before UDDI is being used in such an environment, namely security, payment models and better data management.

By launching a beta site for v2, the UDDI node operators have moved the spec. to the second phase of the review process. Each UDDI spec. must first be reviewed for technical accuracy before it is implemented into a beta environment for another round of review.

With v2, UDDI offers more support for deploying private registries to manage internal Web services. Access to internal Web services can now be extended to a private network of business partners. For example, a manufacturer may share information about a parts inventory Web service with its business partners through a private UDDI registry. Those business partners, in turn, can access the information using any tool with UDDI support.

v2 also has more sophisticated and complex capabilities for conducting searches, as well as new features that allow companies to highlight their business relationships. Cosby says, by allowing companies to describe their business partners and subsidiaries, v2 enables them to validate their legitimacy and trustworthiness to potential customers. “In essence, what we’re trying to do is allow companies to describe their specific businesses as clearly as they can,” says Cosby.

Each UDDI node must adhere closely not only to the requirements of the specification, but also to the replication agenda, which Cosby says is a daily process that mirrors a DNS scenario. As node operators, HP, IBM, Microsoft and SAP are all in compliance with v2. However, each UDDI site has different design elements, as the node operators have built their sites to mirror the look and feel of their other Web presences.

The technical specification for v2 was released on June 18 of this year. And the v3 technical specification will be delivered some time next year, before the UDDI review process is turned over to an open-standards body for the release of the v4 specification.

Although Cosby cannot provide any specific information about what the UDDI community will be looking to do with the v3 spec., he says security and better data management are high on the priority list. “In general, I think what we’ve done is try to listen not only to the general public, but also the 300-plus companies participating in the UDDI community,” says Cosby.

One of the key concerns about UDDI is that it will never be able to provide enough information and assurances to foster the creation of new business relationships. Mike Gilpin, vice president and research leader for Giga Information Group, recently told Web Services Report he doubts whether UDDI will ever be successful in a public environment. He says, it’s just too unrealistic to believe companies will enter into business relationships with organizations they have no prior relationship with. “[Companies don’t] wake up and go ‘Gee, I wonder where I’ll buy stuff from today,” says Gilpin.

Cosby says he understands such skepticism, but believes the automated features of Web services and UDDI will make the combination too attractive to resist in the long run. “You have to ask, is the systems action that happens today done because that’s how businesses must operate,” he says, “or is it just because that’s what technology will allow today.” Cosby believes truth lies in the latter, and says the ability to create immediate relationships that eliminate lengthy integration efforts – the designed progressions for UDDI as it moves from v1 to v2, v3 and v4 – will drive acceptance of it in both public and private settings.

About the Author

Matt Migliore is regular contributor to ENTmag.com. He focuses particularly on Microsoft .NET and other Web services technologies. Matt was the editor of several technology-related Web publications and electronic newsletters, including Web Services Report, ASP insights and MIDRANGE Systems.