toolbox: openid

What is OpenId?

OpenId is a way to provide identity over the web. A URI that represents your credentials is requested by services you access that require you to identify yourself. Since this requirement is very common, monotony and affordance provided by the service of your choosing makes it no more difficult than ordinary browsing to access private and secure resources.

The Story So Far

As the web gained prominence in everyday culture, people started to more fully appreciate the difference between GET and POST HTTP verbs and “friendly” urls. Today, many business owners recognize the value in SEO and have a basic understanding of how their website’s URIs fit into the picture.

To protect users’ resources, many web developers also started including authentication components into many systems. The proliferation of useful web applications and services is creating a tremendous burden on the public to remember many instances of usernames and passwords. The burden is so great, and the rules for credential validity so varied, that many people, including myself, often resort to using (or attempting to use) the same username and password. In addition, in extreme cases, users resort to writing down the most sensitive credentials, because the rules for sensitive credentials tend to be incompatible with the user’s habitually prefered credentials.

An Excellent Tool

By using OpenId, you save yourself from having to write lots of painful code to deal with logging in and SQL plumbing. You also make your services much easier to use. By participating in a system whose value behaves according to network affect, your service also becomes more valuable. See the Wikipedia OpenId page for more details.

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