We have added OpenID support to logins for Connotea. You can try it out here: http://www.connotea.org/openid. If you have any feedback about this you can leave it on the Conotea blog Conotea blog hosted on Nature Network.
At the moment this is probably only useful for the more geeky end of the spectrum, it’s pretty well accepted that managing log-in details for dozens of web sites can become a pain in the ass. I have to admit that it took me a while to ‘get’ OpenID, The basic idea is that you refer any site that supports the OpenID protocol to another site that you trust and where you manage your OpenID. This should allow you to manage your log in details to many sites from just one site, hence reducing the complexity of existing on the web. Of course you need to really really trust the place that is managing your OpenID, and you need to have every site on the web support OpenID, or else you end up with a Balkanisation of identity management systems.
OpenID has been burrowing it’s way through the alpha-geek community for about a year now and some pretty big companies have gotten involved with support for it. This has really picked up momentum since the creation of the OpenID foundation with Google, IBM, Microsoft, VeriSign, and Yahoo! have joined the board.
In principle the situation should be easy. Pick one OpenID and one provider and use this to log in everywhere. Our addition of OpenID support goes a little way towards that utopian dream, but in reality things are probably going to take a little longer to be that simple.
For instance, yahoo will allow you to use your yahoo id as an OpenID, but at the moment you can’t assign an OpenID from another OpenID provider as a login that Yahoo will accept. Google is allowing commenting on Blogger blogs from any OpenID accounts, but the biggie would be if I could assign any OpenID that I liked to my google account, imagine that!
There is one very very nice aspect of OpenID, and it was after playing with this that I really ‘got’ it. This is OpenID delegation. This is where you can pick a web page to be your OpenID and delegate the handling of all of the OpenID machinery to an OpenID provider.
If you look at the head section of the HTML of my web page http://www.mulvany.net you will see the following lines:
<link rel=”openid.server” href=”http://www.myopenid.com/server” />
<link rel=”openid.delegate” href=”http://ianmulvany.myopenid.com/” />
This means that http://www.mulvany.net is now my OpenID and myopenid.com is taking care of all the work for me. If at some point in the future I don’t like myopenid.com, or they disappear, then I can change the link in the head of my web page and continue as normal.
I think that’s cool. I can now use this to log in to my Connotea account. Now I just can’t wait to be able to use it to log in to my google or yahoo account!