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Microsoft, IBM release directory specs

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IBM and Microsoft have developed a language standard for the new Universal Description, Discovery and Integration business directory, which is designed to fuel business-to-business commerce.

The standard, called Web Services Description Language (WSDL), is a mixture of both IBM's Network Accessible Services Specification Language and Microsoft's Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) contract language. SOAP is an open standards-based interoperability protocol that uses XML to provide a common messaging format to link together applications and services anywhere on the Internet regardless of operating system, object model or programming language.

The companies are evaluating the appropriate path for submitting the specification to the industry as a draft for standardization.

A coalition of 36 vendors and consultants are working on the UDDI business directory, which, at its core, will be an XML-based holding tank for what businesses do, the services they offer and how they interface with their computing systems. The registry announced in early September is expected to support a number of APIs for gathering and offering information.

There will be three initial versions of the registry as it gradually becomes more elaborate. It initially will provide basic information and later will offer more detailed company information, such as how to deal with a specific business unit.

Ariba, along with IBM and Microsoft, launched the UDDI business directory, which will be built on TCP/IP, HTML and XML. Beta testing is expected to begin sometime in October.

The WSDL specification will be posted on the IBM Web site at www-4.ibm.com/software/ developer/library/w-wsdl.html?dwzone=web/. It also can be viewed at msdn.microsoft.com/xml/general/wsdl.asp/. More information can be found on the UDDI initiative at www.uddi.org .

IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at 914-499-1900 or at www.ibm.com/. Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., can be reached at 425-882-8080, or at www.microsoft.com/.

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