OpenID Delegation: Ship It.

It seems when everyone’s talking about the lack of OpenID relying parties compared to identity providers they often leave out an important role in the OpenID stack: Delegation. Of course this doesn’t solve the problem everyone is feverishly complaining about, but it is curious to see no one ever really mentions delegation.

Any website who aggregates significant amounts of user data that is a content rich endpoint for the user is a perfect candidate for providing delegation services. I just want to make it known that just shipping simple delegation is a great option and an important one. If you ask people to give you a URL that most describes them on the internet they’ll probably point you to their page on one of the following:

Ideal delegation sources:

  • Facebook
  • MySpace
  • FriendFeed
  • Twitter
  • MySpace
  • Digg
  • Delicious
  • SourceForge
  • Magnolia
  • Jyte
  • LinkedIn

For these sites choosing to ship delegation instead of their very own identity provider has a lot of important benefits for the site and it’s users. As a content provider shipping delegation is unbelievably simple from an implementation standpoint. It’s a one time cost of a couple of developer hours and that’s it. Now your users can login to their favorite OpenID sites as joe.yoursite.com and you don’t have to employ a team of developers to maintain your OpenID implementation and user management. Users also benefit because their OpenID endpoint is now a content rich place that actually describes them.

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