In an information appliance system 100, a user device 108 comprises a client platform (200, FIG. 5) that includes a service framework (235, FIG. 5) to discover and connect with a variety of services, both remote and local, transient and persistent, and to disconnect from them when they are no longer of interest or become unavailable. The service framework 235 provides a standard, consistent, simplified way for services to make themselves available and for service-using entities to locate and connect with the services of interest to them. From the perspective of the client platform 200, all services, whether local or remote, are presented as local services to the application. Each remote service is represented as a local service through the use of a local proxy that insulates the service user from the complexities of communicating with a remote server. Various methods of operating a service framework are also described.