An Introduction to OExchange

OExchange is a newly-introduced protocol stack that allows users to share URL-based content with any service on the web. It covers posting links to social networks as well as sending content to things like online translation and printing services.

The protocol — driven by the folks at Clearspring (where I work) with the support of a long list of online services — builds on several existing open web specifications.  It is backed by an open development list, tools for developers, and lots of additional resources.

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JRD, the Other Resource Descriptor

(Yes, that was a LRDD-inspired pun.)

XRD 1.0 is the result of 5 years of community development and actual deployment experience. It represents the most concise, yet extensible way to describe web resources using well understood constructs such as links. It uses XML as its extensible backbone, enabling protocols to extend pretty much every element as needed. For a long time, XML was the source of XRD’s (and its predecessor, XRDS’s) extensibility. Continue reading

The Light at the End of the Discovery Tunnel

After almost three years working on various discovery proposals, I’m finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. While slow, good progress is being made and the drafts are reaching maturity and gaining popularity.

Just a quick update on the status of the various parts of the discovery stack (aka The Hammer Stack):

  • What started as site-meta and changed into Well-known URIs is now RFC 5785.
  • Web Linking, the heart of the entire discovery stack was finally approved for RFC publication with a new registry for link relation types coming shortly.
  • XRD 1.0 concluded its second public review with no material changes and is moving to Committee Standard next week.
  • host-meta is under review by the IETF Applications area director and pending IETF Last-Call.
  • New draft available for LRDD – the top-most component of the discovery stack where everything comes together into a single discovery flow. The new draft incorporates all the feedback received (mostly editorial), and is hopefully ready for last-call in a week or so.
  • First draft of the ‘acct’ URI specification (as used by the WebFinger protocol) is due shortly.

If you care about any of this, it is critical to review the host-meta and LRDD documents. They are both short and include plenty of detailed examples. Feedback would be greatly appreciated on the Apps Discuss list.

2009 Year-End Status Report

We made a lot of important progress in 2009, even if it doesn’t feel like it. While there were no big new ideas, no final drafts, and very little overall progress, the progress made was still extremely valuable. It represents the maturity and stabilization of these efforts and technologies. We are getting close to the finish line of the discovery stack.

The following is a quick report on the status of the efforts I am involved in and what to expect in the next few months. Continue reading

The Discovery Protocol Stack, Redux

What started as a small, simple specification ended up spread over 5 (and counting) documents. Given that these are still moving targets, at least for a little bit longer, it can get very confusing for people trying to follow this work. A few months ago I wrote about the new discovery stack which included XRD, LRDD, and the three links. Since then, the design has changed to include new components and some shuffling of the existing ones. Continue reading

Host-meta (aka Site-meta) and Well-Known URIs

host-metaOver the past two weeks Well-Known URIs (draft-nottingham-site-meta) completed its last-call review at the IETF and is now pending IESG review before publication as an RFC. In addition, Host-meta (draft-hammer-hostmeta) was introduced to fill in the gap created by the recent revisions.

There is a lot of confusion about these drafts, not because they are complicated – they are pretty simple – but because of how they evolved and ended up solving different problems. It makes a good story for wannabe standards editors but that’s for another day.
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OpenID and LRDD

In my last article I wrote about the differences between user discovery and provider discovery. In this article, I will explain how both of these discovery flows can be easily be done using the “Link-base Resource Descriptor Discovery” (LRDD) pattern. A resource descriptor is, for the purposes of OpenID discovery, an XRD document describing meta-data about a resource, which can either be a user’s OpenID (i.e., identified by a user identifier) or an OpenID provider (i.e., identified by a provider identifier).

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Internet Identity Workshop, the Identity Geekfest

IIW There are few events more productive than Internet Identity Workshop.

And few that I enjoy quite so much. I’m an engineer at heart, even though these I play a pseudo-lawyer and write specifications. While I enjoy the meta conversations about the social web, I love talking code. The real thing, like working with a group of people on a new XML schema using a whiteboard, or walking through use cases and designing protocols. Ultra-geek stuff.

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