I’ve been thinking about how we make OpenID both easier and sexier for quite a while now. As frustrating as the answer may be to technologists, the problem is not necessarily one that can be solved with more technology. Instead, at some point, you have to move beyond the original constituents of a solution and start to package up the thing in a way that is less alienating, and less “insider baseball”.
“OpenID Connect”, therefore, is what I’m starting to use in casual conversation as my answer to Twitter and Facebook Connect.
It’s really creative, I know. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.
Seriously though, from a marketing perspective — it’s what I want the OpenID Foundation (and our new board) to offer the world in 2010. Essentially I think it’s time we ditched the “Open Stack” concept and put something out there that can stand up in conversation alongside the likes of Facebook Connect, in all its rich and specific expressiveness.
At some point, I want OpenID Connect to be what Facebook and Google and others implement that becomes the interoperable identity interchange protocol for the social web. But we’re not quite there yet, though all the technology is on the verge of being… ready.
Speaking of, from a technical perspective — I’m really just talking about repackaging OpenID as a profile of OAuth WRAP (credit: Recordon). It would provide relying parties with profile data, relationships, access to content, and activity streams — based on Recordon’s anatomy of connect.
Unlike the current incarnation, it would work in real-time, distributed systems, on the desktop as well as in mobile devices. Huzzah!
We’re not even that far away from such a solution. Since OpenID really just bootstraps identity — we need a way to provide relying parties with all the other stuff they’ve come to expect from the Twitter and Facebook Connect APIs… and that’s where the “connect” in “OpenID Connect” comes in.
So, to summarize:
- for the non-tech, uninitiated audiences: OpenID Connect is a technology that lets you use an account that you already have to sign up, sign in, and bring your profile, contacts, data, and activities with you to any compatible site on the web.
- for techies: OpenID Connect is OpenID rewritten on top of OAuth WRAP using service discovery to advertise Portable Contacts, Activity Streams, and any other well known API endpoints, and a means to automatically bootstrap consumer registration and token issuance.