The Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is an XML-based language used to describe the services a business offers and to provide a way for individuals and other businesses to access those services electronically. WSDL is the cornerstone of the Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) initiative spearheaded by Microsoft, IBM, and Ariba. UDDI is an XML-based registry for businesses worldwide, which enables businesses to list themselves and their services on the Internet. WSDL is the language used to do this.
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WSDL is derived from Microsoft's Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and IBM's Network Accessible Service Specification Language (NASSL). WSDL replaces both NASSL and SOAP as the means of expressing business services in the UDDI registry.