OASIS swallows UDDI.org

Along with a new address, the UDDI specification is undergoing something of a facelift.

Standards body OASIS on Tuesday will subsume UDDI.org, the consortium driving the UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) technology that forms the foundation of Web services directories. OASIS on Tuesday also will formally introduce the third iteration of UDDI, with a new focus on internal corporate deployments.

When it was first introduced, UDDI was hailed as an online global yellow pages that would indiscriminately connect businesses, regardless of infrastructure.

"That global anonymous yellow pages concept was a straw man because it was never a good idea," said Jason Bloomberg, a senior analyst at ZapThink LLC, a research firm specializing in Web services, in Waltham, Mass. "Clearly, UDDI has much more appeal within the enterprise and within established groups of business partners."

Indeed, in the nearly two years since it was first announced, only a handful of public UDDI-based directories have been born. What's more, those are hosted by Microsoft and IBM -- two of UDDI's three founders -- as well as SAP, and NTT Communications in Japan. Ariba, the third founding member of UDDI, opted not to follow through with its plans to host a public directory.

Hewlett-Packard also hopped on board the UDDI wave and launched its own public directory. But last week the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company jumped right off that wave, and officially posted on its Web site that it is ceasing operation of its UDDI directory no later than Sep. 20.

Analysts have been saying nearly since its inception that UDDI would first gain traction inside the firewall and, eventually, as Web services more commonly cross firewalls and span multiple organizations, UDDI would follow suit.

"In the past two years, there has really been a shift in the way we think about UDDI," said Chris Kurt, UDDI.org program manager and a group product manager for Web services standards at Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft. "We're seeing more and more internal adoptions of UDDI."

To that end, UDDI 3 includes several improvements that tune it for internal deployments. Version 3 makes it easier for applications to exchange information in clustered configurations, increases security, improves searching capabilities, and includes a set of APIs that enable notifications and updates to be sent out when changes occur.

Kurt said that OASIS, and the UDDI folks within, have not given up on the idea of UDDI for dynamically discovering and connecting Web services to each other. Instead, they have come to believe that the original vision will be realized as consumer Web services emerge.

Driving the use of UDDI among corporate end-users and consumers is one of the areas where OASIS comes in.

"From OASIS' perspective, the thing you'll see is growth due to our international membership, our variety of members, and especially the end-users. We'll be able to do more work focusing on adoption in end-user areas," said Patrick Gannon, CEO of OASIS, in Billerica, Mass.

"UDDI.org has done an exceptional job of getting the adoption within the vendor community, such as getting the functionality built into Internet server products in the stack," Gannon said. "Now the next phase is really getting more adoption in the end-user space, and we think that is where we should be able to have an impact."

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