UDDI is an industry standard for a platform-independent and flexible means of describing, discovering and integrating services as well as the businesses that provide the services. As we have seen, UDDI has many similarities to telephone books, and provides users a means to search for Web services as well as service provider businesses.
The UBR is a global implementation of the UDDI specification and provides a publicly accessible registry of Web services. Currently, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, and NTT provide UBR nodes where users can register their Web services and make them available to a global market.
Although the UDDI specification provides a programmatic API to publish Web services to a UDDI registry and also to inquire about which services and service providers are available, most service selection issues at design time will require human intervention, thus reducing the usefulness of an automatic, programmatic interface. The business, strategic, and sometimes political issues that come into the service selection process will usually require business analysts and strategic consultants to play a critical role in the service selection process. Accordingly, during the design of an application, more human-friendly means to service selection including aggregation portals such as XMethods, Internet search engines such as Google, word of mouth, and UBR home pages, will be critical.
Instead of its much-hyped role at application design time, UDDI plays a more useful role at application runtime. Applications based on Web services need a mechanism to stay updated with the latest access endpoint information for a particular Web service. Conversely, Web services need a means to broadcast to applications that are already consuming them additional capabilities and resources. UDDI registries and the global UBR implementation provide such capabilities, and can play a critical role in the lifecycle of Web services and the applications that consume them.
UDDI is an important technology with useful capabilities. These capabilities must be properly positioned within the limitations of businesses and the usual operations of partner interactions. As we have discussed, with the right positioning, UDDI forms a core piece of the enterprise Web services platform.