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In early 2001, around the time that ebXML was wrestling with the many details that make up its multiple specifications (there are more than 20!), the potential of Web Services was becoming apparent to the software industry. However, there was concern that the ebXML initiative was getting too complex, and might take too long to crystallize. To jump-start the registry effort, IBM, Microsoft, and Ariba joined forces and released the UDDI specification for registration and discovery of services in a UDDI repository. Unlike ebXML, UDDI was agnostic about process models and specific industry data descriptions. From a UDDI perspective, the repository was seen simply as a place to go to find services. For the software industry, it was a specification that companies could begin to build software around.

The UDDI specification is organized around three basic functions, known popularly as publish, find, and bind:

  • Publish: How a Web service provider registers itself

  • Find: How an application finds a particular Web service of interest

  • Bind: How an application connects to and interacts with a Web service after it's been found

Clients can access a UDDI registry from three perspectives, often described in terms of telephone directories:

  • White pages: The name, address, telephone number, and other contact information of a specific business

  • Yellow pages: Information that categorizes businesses (for example, a member of the International Bungee Cord Manufacturers Association)

  • Green pages: Technical information about the Web Services provided by a particular business

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