UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) is an XML-based registry for businesses worldwide to list themselves on the Internet. Its ultimate goal is to streamline online transactions by enabling companies to find one another on the Web and make their systems interoperable for e-commerce. UDDI is often compared to a telephone book's white, yellow, and green pages. The project allows businesses to list themselves by name, product, location, or the Web services they offer.
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Microsoft, IBM, and Ariba spearheaded UDDI. The project now includes 130 companies, including some of the biggest names in the corporate world. Compaq, American Express, SAP AG, and Ford Motor Company are all committed to UDDI, as is Hewlett-Packard, whose own XML-based directory approach, called e-speak, is now being integrated with UDDI.
While the group does not refer to itself as a standards body, it does offer a framework for Web services integration. The UDDI specification utilizes World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards such as XML, HTTP, and Domain Name System (DNS) protocols. It has also adopted early versions of the proposed Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) messaging guidelines for cross platform programming.
In November 2000, UDDI entered its public beta-testing phase. Each of its three founders - Microsoft, IBM, and Ariba - now operates a registry server that is interoperable with servers from other members. As information goes into a registry server, it is shared by servers in the other businesses. The UDDI beta is scheduled to end in the first quarter of 2001. In the future, other companies will act as operators of the UDDI Business Registry.
UDDI registration is open to companies worldwide, regardless of their size.