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Tool said to fix some UDDI ''problems''

Noting that UDDI ''has been beaten up in the press and the industry for a lot of reasons,'' a Web services toolmaker still remains optimistic about the future of the standard.

Charlie Ungaschick, senior product marketing director at Systinet Corp., Cambridge, Mass. said that to date several problems have slowed the acceptance and adoption of UDDI registries.

''UDDI was a standard that was built for really public registries,'' he explained. ''Microsoft and IBM initially adopted them and put up their own UDDI public Web sites. The trouble, first of all, is that there weren't a lot of Web services to register at first. Second, as more IT managers began to look into UDDI, the whole notion of a big, open Yellow Pages of all of your internal network available services and applications scared a lot of people. I think the notion of it being a public registry was perhaps a little ahead of its time.''

In addition, Ungaschick said there are also ''difficulties and limitations'' inherent in the early versions of the standard. For example, change management is a major problem for developers trying to link to Web services through a UDDI registry, he said.

''Web services may look up a service and get the WSDL document back based on where it is and the results of the query, but UDDI offered no mechanism for determining if the service changes,'' he explained.

He believes the latest release of UDDI from the Boston-based OASIS business standards consortium will remedy this problem.

''OASIS has now come out with a new version, which includes a really great and obvious enhancement for notifications and subscriptions,'' Ungaschick said. ''That means clients can subscribe as they're consuming a Web service to receive notification if there are any changes to that service.''

Another limitation to widespread UDDI adoption is security, the Systinet executive said.

A new release this week of Systinet's developer tools for Web services includes a UDDI component that addresses security issues, Ungaschick said.

''Right now UDDI offers no capability for applying security to different services and taxonomies,'' he said. ''With our product and our implementation of UDDI, you can tie the existing security models like LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory into the registry and secure your taxonomies based on user profiles and groups.''

Other UDDI issues that need to be resolved, according to Ungaschick, relate to performance and ease of use.

The number of calls a developer needs to make to a registry are impediments to development and implementation, he said.

''The way that you interact with UDDI registries today forces you to make as many as a half dozen Web services calls just to get a complete snapshot of a single service,'' he explained. ''So you can't query the registry with a single call.''

This week's release of Systinet's WASP 4.5 includes a feature called SuperInquiry, which is designed to help alleviate this problem, according to Ungaschick.

''Using SuperInquiry you can pass a SQL-like command to get 'show me all the services that contain the words tax credit' and it will return the results,'' he said. ''It eliminates the burden on the developer to make six or seven Web services calls to get a single response out of the registry.''

For more information about Systinet's developer tools, which can be downloaded without charge, click on http://www.systinet.com. Information about UDDI and other OASIS standards is available at http://www.oasis-open.org.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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