Thursday, April 17, 2008
OpenID

It was sometime near the end of 2005 when I first heard about the OpenID idea and concept, and I became and instant fan of it. For someone like me who uses an insane amount of websites and online services, the idea of not having to create a username and password for each one, and not having to fill in the profile each time, was such a pleasant notion. Not long after that I started testing various OpenID providers, including myOpenID, ClaimID and Verisign. So I registered my OpenID, but I didn't use it that much because of a number of reasons. The idea of having an OpenID is very cool, but even today, [about 3 years later], not that many website are OpenID enabled just yet. I mean, for this to really work, it's necessary that some of the major websites start supporting it, and so far they haven't. What's funny is that everybody is now offering to serve your OpenID, but they're not accepting it if you try to login to their service using an OpenID provided by someone else. If you have a blogger profile, your URL is now your OpenID. But you can't login to blogger using an OpenID from Verisign! Obviously everybody likes to advertise for themselves by providing the URL that the user is going to use everywhere, but they don't like to go through the pain of supporting OpenID login. [I have to mention here, for anybody who might not know this, that your OpenID is a unique URL to some info page about you]. The other problem is that, if you already have an account in a website that now supports OpenID, there usually is no way of tying your already existing user info to your new OpenID. Although, I also have to mention that recently I saw a website doing that: aboutus.org. I really have to send a "way to go" to those guys, although mine didn't work so far but at least they're trying. So, it's possible, it just takes some work.
On the plus side, there actually are a good number of websites that have started supporting OpenID [one of my favorites would be legaltorrents.com]. And day by day, more websites add OpenID login pages. That's good news. So recently, I felt there are more places on the web that I can use my OpenID, which is cool.
But then, there was another problem. I didn't like the fact that my ID, contains the provider's URL. I also didn't like it that it pointed to a profile page on the provider's website. I mean if it's supposed to be MY ultimate ID, it has to be MY URL, and pointing to my biggest online profile, which is my website. So I did some digging, and I found the solution to that too. I found an open source PHP application, called phpMyID, which works as your own personal provider. So you can have your own OpenID server, and then with a few steps you can use your own domain name as your OpenID. I set that up a couple of weeks ago, and so far I've had no problem using www.Aasemoon.com as my OpenID. I had a few people asking me how this whole thing works, so I've wrote a few paragraphs about OpenID in general, and setting up your own OpenID server and delegation, which you can view on the Programming & Web-Development page on my website.
So now, I only hope that at some point major online services will start supporting OpenID. Life will get a lot easier that way. =)

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Ahoo "Aasemoon" Pirsoleimani, 1998-2012