A Microsoft- and IBM-backed group that promotes the use of the emerging UDDI Web services specification announced Thursday that its members would start distributing test copies of the latest version of the specification.
The UDDI, or Universal Description, Discovery and Integration, specification serves as a registry and locator service that identifies and catalogs Web services applications so that they can be easily found online. The UDDI Business Registry Operators Council, made up of IBM, Microsoft, NTT Communications and SAP, is promoting usage of UDDI by providing support to the software development community.
The Operators Council said Thursday that it would begin making beta copies of UDDI Version 3 available to developers of Web services applications. Earlier this year, OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, ratified Version 2 of the specification as an industry standard.
The term Web services refers to software applications that are written according to standards that are designed to enable programs to easily interact over the Web or a corporate network. A number of companies are developing Web services applications to aid in the integration of disparate technologies.
Upgrades to UDDI Version 3 reported by the Operators Council include digital-signature support and the use of UDDI Business Registry (UBR) as a root registry.
George Zagelow, managing director of the UDDI Operators Council, said the Version 3 release offers the first chance for developers who use UDDI to see how other people are working with the specification through UBR. Zagelow also pointed to the addition of digital signature support as a major step forward.
"There has been a lot of focus in Web services around digital signatures, as developers need security measures to make sure that public entries are trustworthy," Zagelow said.
Although UDDI was introduced nearly three years ago, adoption has lagged in comparison to other Web services standards, such as the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and the Web Services Description Language (WSDL). UDDI registries were first envisioned as a locator service on the Internet, allowing companies to tap into a broad network of third-party Web services applications. In practice, the directories have been used within corporate networks as a way to store information on available Web services.
Industry experts observed that the UDDI Version 3 release is significant to continued adoption of the specification.
"The beta release of (UDDI Version 3) takes a further step in bringing this important specification closer to successful real-world implementations," said Charles Abrams, an analyst at Gartner, in a statement. "The UDDI Operators Council is providing companies with an early opportunity to explore new functionality when considering extended Web service implementations."
CNET News.com's Martin LaMonica contributed to this report.