A broad coalition of business and technology companies announced the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) Project, a cross-industry initiative designed to accelerate and broaden B2B integration and commerce on the Internet. American Express Co., Andersen Consulting, Ariba Inc., Bowstreet, Cargill Inc., Clarus Corp., Commerce One Inc., CommerceQuest Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., CrossWorlds Software Inc., Dell Computer Corp., Descartes, Extricity Software Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Great Plains, i2, IBM Corp., Internet Capital Group, Loudcloud Inc., match21, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., Microsoft Corp., NEON, Nortel Networks Corp., NTT Communications Corp., Rational Software Corp., RealNames Corp., Sabre Holdings Corp., SAP AG, Sun Microsystems Inc., TIBCO Software Inc., Ventro Corp., Versata Inc., VeriSign, VerticalNet Inc. and webMethods Inc. are among the first to endorse and collaborate on UDDI. Growth of B2B commerce on the Internet faces challenges in scaling to universal adoption due to the multitude of technologies and standards used by businesses and e-marketplaces. UDDI will address these challenges by providing two things: First, UDDI defines a platform-neutral set of specifications to enable businesses to describe themselves and indicate their preferred means of conducting e-commerce transactions. Second, UDDI includes the shared operation of a globally distributed UDDI Business Registry. Through the UDDI Business Registry, companies publish information describing how they conduct commerce and search for other businesses that provide the capabilities, Web services or products they need. The goal of the UDDI Project is to offer the basic infrastructure for dynamic, automated integration of all e-commerce transactions and Web services. Similar to the impact HTML had for consumers on the Internet by providing a common Web site publishing format that fueled the Internet explosion, UDDI aims to make business-to-business commerce adoption universal by providing businesses with a common mechanism to publish Web services on the Internet. The UDDI Project is an open industry initiative in which any organization can participate and implement the specifications. The specifications build on core Internet standards — including TCP/IP, HTML and XML — and are independent of any underlying platform, language, object model, business application or marketplace. It is the intention of the UDDI members to transition the specifications to an industry standards body in the next 18 months. The open draft of the UDDI specification can be found at www.uddi.org. The final specification will be available shortly after public comments and feedback are incorporated. The UDDI Business Registry provides an implementation of the UDDI specification. Any company can access the registry on the Internet, enter the description of its business, reach a UDDI site, or search through all business services listed in the UDDI registry. There is no cost to access information in the registry. Although based on XML, the registry can also describe services implemented using HTML, Java, CORBA, Microsoft Windows DNA, or any other type of programming model or language. The registry is implemented as a Web service and thus can be discovered, integrated and programmatically invoked using XML like any other Web service. Beta implementations of the UDDI Business Registry will be available from Ariba, IBM and Microsoft within 30 days. These implementations will interoperate with each other, ensuring that information registered at one site is shared with all other operator registries. Other interoperable implementations are expected in the future. www.uddi.org