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Microsoft Corp. and a group of fellow-travelers are planning to release a new Web services specification late Tuesday, which will help provide Web services interoperability and support for occasionally-connected devices and systems, sources said

The new specification is called WS-Discovery and is supported by Microsoft, Canon Inc., BEA Systems Inc., and Intel Corp. The companies are set to announce the specification at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, sources said.

The WS-Discovery specification acts somewhat like the Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI) standard, except it will focus on dealing with devices and systems that are not always connected to the network.

Microsoft is focusing its WS-Discovery protocol on two key issues: notifying systems through a multicast protocol when a device or service is available, and providing a location “bootstrap” so that UDDI systems and event-driven systems can continue to locate and communicate with the device. This enables a device to announce itself on a network and then exchange information with other devices and systems.

WS-Discovery is complementary to UDDI and will work with other protocols, such as like WS-Eventing, WS-Addressing, WS-Security, and WS-ReliableMessaging—once a device or occasionally connected services announces itself—for ongoing system-to-system communication.

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