Web Services Inspection Language (WSIL) is a service discovery
mechanism that is an alternative to UDDI as well as complementary to UDDI.
When you discover Web services with UDDI, you go to a centralized registry.
WSIL is an alternative approach to Web service discovery. WSIL allows
you to go directly to the service provider and ask for the services it provides.
Microsoft's proposal for the WSIL specification is designed around an XML-based
model for building an aggregation of references to existing Web service descriptions,
that are exposed using standard Web server technology.
WSIL provides a distributed service discovery method that supplies references
to service descriptions at the service provider's point-of-offering, by specifying
how to inspect a Web site for available Web services. The WSIL specification
defines the locations on a Web site where you can look for Web service descriptions.
Since WSIL focuses on distributed service discovery, the WSIL specification
complements UDDI by facilitating the discovery of services that are available
on Web sites that may not be listed yet in a UDDI registry. A separate topic
in this documentation discusses the
Relationship between UDDI and WSIL.
The WSIL specification does not define a service description language.
WSIL documents provide a method for aggregating different types of service
descriptions. Within a WSIL document, a single service can have more
than one reference to a service description. For example, a single Web
service might be referenced twice in a WSIL document: once directly via its
WSDL, and again via its businessService entry in a UDDI registry. References
to these two service descriptions should be put into a WSIL document.
If multiple references are available, it is beneficial to put all of them
in the WSIL document so that the application that uses the document can select
the type of service description that is compatible with and preferred by that
The WSIL specification serves two primary functions:
- WSIL defines an XML format for listing references to existing service
descriptions. These service descriptions can be defined in any format, such
as WSDL, UDDI, or plain HTML. A WSIL document is generally made available
at the point-of-offering for the services that are referenced within the document.
A WSIL document can contain a list of references to service descriptions,
as well as references to other WSIL documents.
The ability to link a WSIL
document to one or more different WSIL documents allows you to manage service
description references by grouping them into different documents and to build
a hierarchy of WSIL documents. For example, separate WSIL documents
can be created for different categories of services, and one primary WSIL
document can link all of them together.
- WSIL defines a set of conventions so that it is easy to locate other WSIL
documents. The WSIL specification does not limit the type of service descriptions
that can be referenced. The WSIL specification defines a set of standard
extensibility elements for both WSDL and UDDI. The WSIL specification
is the definition of locations where you can access WSIL documents.
- Two conventions make the location and retrieval of WSIL documents easy:
- Fixed-name WSIL documents. The fixed name for
WSIL documents is inspection.wsil. The inspection.wsil file is placed
at common entry points for a Web site. For example, if the common entry
point is https://entrypoint.com then the location of the WSIL document would
- Linked WSIL documents. References to WSIL documents
can also appear within different content documents, such as HTML pages.
For more information on the Web Services Inspection Language specification,