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Top Ten FAQs for Web Services
by Ethan Cerami | Pages: 1, 2, 3

8. What is UDDI?

UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) currently represents the discovery layer within the Web services protocol stack.

UDDI was originally created by Microsoft, IBM, and Ariba, and represents a technical specification for publishing and finding businesses and Web services.

At its core, UDDI consists of two parts.

  • First, UDDI is a technical specification for building a distributed directory of businesses and Web services. Data is stored within a specific XML format, and the UDDI specification includes API details for searching existing data and publishing new data.

  • Second, the UDDI Business Registry is a fully operational implementation of the UDDI specification. Launched in May 2001 by Microsoft and IBM, the UDDI registry now enables anyone to search existing UDDI data. It also enables any company to register themselves and their services.

The data captured within UDDI is divided into three main categories:

  • White Pages: This includes general information about a specific company. For example, business name, business description, and address.

  • Yellow Pages: This includes general classification data for either the company or the service offered. For example, this data may include industry, product, or geographic codes based on standard taxonomies.

  • Green Pages: This includes technical information about a Web service. Generally, this includes a pointer to an external specification, and an address for invoking the Web service.

You can view the Microsoft UDDI site, or the IBM UDDI site. The complete UDDI specification is available at uddi.org.

Beta versions of UDDI Version 2 are available at:

9. How do I get started with Web Services?

The easiest way to get started with Web services is to learn XML-RPC. Check out the XML-RPC specification or read my book, Web Services Essentials. O'Reilly has also recently released a book on Programming Web Services with XML-RPC by Simon St.Laurent, Joe Johnston, and Edd Dumbill.

Once you have learned the basics of XML-RPC, move onto SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI. These topics are also covered in Web Services Essentials. For a comprehensive treatment of SOAP, check out O'Reilly's Programming Web Services with SOAP, by Doug Tidwell, James Snell, and Pavel Kulchenko.

10. Does the W3C support any Web service standards?

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is actively pursuing standardization of Web service protocols. In September 2000, the W3C established an XML Protocol Activity. The goal of the group is to establish a formal standard for SOAP. A draft version of SOAP 1.2 is currently under review, and progressing through the official W3C recommendation process.

On January 25, 2002, the W3C also announced the formation of a Web Service Activity. This new activity will include the current SOAP work as well as two new groups. The first new group is the Web Services Description Working Group, which will take up work on WSDL. The second new group is the Web Services Architecture Working Group, which will attempt to create a cohesive framework for Web service protocols.

For an overview of the new W3C Web Service activity, check out Edd Dumbill's recent XML.com article, Welcome Web Services Activity.