Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

WordPress, web development, and world domination.

OpenID News

Since my WordPress upgrade and theme change, the OpenID sign-on functionality here has been a little iffy. I think I’ve got all the kinks worked out now, and it should be working correctly again. There seems to be a buglet in the functions that attempt to automagically add the OpenID login fields to the comment form. So I had to disable that option and manually edit my comment template file to insert the appropriate bits. I don’t like having to modify the theme files (it’s going to make it harder to upgrade when a new version of Sandbox comes out), but that was my best solution, short-term.

In other news, Microsoft is working on interoperability between OpenID and their CardSpace™ framework. This is going to bring a lot more attention to OpenID. Microsoft has tried entering this field before, with Hailstorm. But they tied it exclusively to their proprietary Passport service. This new collaboration will be building on the existing OpenID infrastructure, which is open and decentralized. Of course, this doesn’t replace Passport, it will just mean that Passport will be one of many identity services that one could use to log in to various OpenID-enabled sites, or that one could use an established third-party OpenID to authenticate against a CardSpace site.

And if that wasn’t enough, Simon Willison announced a new service called idproxy.net, which allows you to use your Yahoo! account as an OpenID credential. So, if you already have a Yahoo! account, you’re half-way to having an OpenID that you can use (with the trust level you have in Yahoo) to login to OpenID-enabled sites, via idproxy.net.

And last, but certainly not least, there’s the new videntity.org OpenID provider. What makes this one ubergroovy is that it has support for FOAF, vCard, and microformats like hCard and XFN. And it can both import and export multiple formats for the contact info. So, not only does it act as an OpenID authentication service, it can also serve as a general, multi-format identity provider. This service can store a lot of different profile information, and you have full control over which bits are public and which ones stay private (to be provided to other sites only with your explicit permission).

To get a better idea of what I mean by that, check out my profile at dougal.videntity.org. What you see there is just the information that I’ve chosen to make public — in my private profile I have additional information entered. Interesting to note here is that the links in the “Ernest knows” section were automatically imported from the XFN information here on my blog. It also imported some of my other info from hCard data on my site. I could also have imported information from my FOAF profile (if I hadn’t let it get so out of date).

If you haven’t really been following OpenID, or if you’re still confused about what it is and what it means to you, why not just try it out? Pick any of the numerous services out there, create an account (quick, while you can still get ‘myfirstname.someservice.com’!), and then use your new ID to login to an OpenID consumer site. Like this one. And if you have a WordPress blog, you can use the OpenID Delegate plugin and use your own URL as your OpenID. For example, if I want to login to an OpenID site, I just enter ‘dougal.gunters.org‘ as my login ID. I am then redirected to myopenid.com (which is currently my chosen delegate) for the actual authentication.

If you still want to do some more research, you might want to check out Planet OpenID, which aggregates the latest news.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
This entry was posted in Microformats, OpenID, Services, Standards, Tech, Themes, WordPress and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to OpenID News

  1. The automagical comment form rewrite feature of the plugin doesn’t work very well. The entire idea of using output buffering to figure out what an html form looks like, and rewrite it, is braindead. Especially in the context of html tag soup. I fully recommend editing your template files, both for control over the form layout, and performance. If you have a patch to make the form rewriter work under some fringe case, please feel free to submit it.

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