At design-time, UDDI can be very powerful means of organizing and sharing Web services. It is a strong mechanism for promoting reuse and preventing unnecessary reinvention.
At runtime, UDDI is an essential component of any SOA infrastructure. UDDI provides IT administrators the level of indirection required for dynamic binding. With dynamic binding, an application queries the UDDI registry to determine the current binding information for the services it needs, instead of having a hard-coded endpoint. Using the binding information provided by UDDI, the application then connects to the service. Should the location of the service change, the application will be redirected.
To get a sense of what UDDI can do, and how it will be used in the future, consider the Picture Services Network (PSN). The PSN is a consortium that includes Kodak, Agfa, HP and many others - and they have made UDDI the centerpiece of a system that will connect digital photographers with photofinishers. It will be a global resource for photographic companies to register their services, and then for these services to be discovered and used by consumers over the Internet. A digital photographer with a home PC will be able to use off-the-shelf software to query the registry for, say, a photofinisher that can supply overnight 5-by-10 glossies in 01760 zipcode. The whole system in based on Web services and hinges on UDDI. In this application, UDDI has a private 'write' function but a 'public' read capability: in other words, member companies will be given controlled access to advertise their services, and consumers will be given unfettered access using their browser.
This was first published in June 2003