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Security is main issue for UDDI v3

The first two versions of the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) project concentrated on getting the XML-based online business registry up and running and supporting complex organizations and improved search capabilities. Version three, due by the end of the year, will focus on authentication and authorization, according to its architects, Hewlett-Packard and IBM. They add that these features are the final pieces of the puzzle before the UDDI is sent to a standards body.

Security is likely to figure prominently in version 3 of the proposed Universal Description, Discovery and Integration specification - the final version before the UDDI community submits the important XML business registry specification to a standards body for approval.

The UDDI advisory group began a two-day meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday. With 280 members, a number that is growing by 5-10 members a week, it includes most of the leading business-to-business e-commerce software vendors. The meeting is expected to focus on what to include in UDDI v3, which is due to be published around year-end, in line with the UDDI roadmap set out in September.

So far, the evolution of the UDDI standard has been a model of cooperation between UDDI advisory group members and a 14-member working group that includes the three public node operators, Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

"We are very pleased with the good progress that has been made," said Ben Brauer, product marketing manager for HP's Web services operations.

UDDI is viewed as a vital component in the emerging Web services infrastructure, and is intended to provide an open standard for publishing and discovering the services via the Internet. Web services themselves are designed to simplify the process of conducting dynamic B2B e-commerce by using standardized components.

Version 1, published in May, enabled Microsoft and IBM to launch the first UDDI business registries. Since then, HP has replaced Ariba as the third public node operator, allowing Ariba to focus on its own financial performance. All three operators plan to launch business registries based on version 2, which was published earlier this week, in a coordinated fashion later this year.

New features in UDDI v2 include support for complex organizations, improved internationalization, additional categorization and identifier schemes, and richer search capabilities. Some of these features were originally planned for version 3 but were accelerated into version 2, leaving security as probably the most important issue to be addressed in version 3.

UDDI's leading architects, including HP and IBM, want to build both authentication and authorization features into business directories, measures they believe are essential if the directories are to fulfill their promise as part of the enabling infrastructure for XML-based B2B e-commerce. With these security features in place, they believe, UDDI will be ready to send to a standards body. The advisory group has still to decide which standard-setting organization to choose - an issue that could yet divide the UDDI community.

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