At the Forge - Integrating OpenID
OpenID is a simple but powerful idea that is slowly but surely transforming the way we manage identities on the Internet. A growing number of applications use OpenID, and it is becoming increasingly popular among users as well.
Adding OpenID to an application does not need to be complicated or difficult. As I show this month, incorporating OpenID into a Rails application requires understanding one particular Ruby object, namely OpenID::Consumer, and the odd, redirect-based, three-part OpenID login system specification.
OpenID: the main page for OpenID is openid.net. For documentation about the Ruby gem for OpenID, see openidenabled.com/files/ruby-openid/docs/2.0.4/classes/OpenID/Consumer.html.
OpenID on Rails: the main Wiki page for this is wiki.rubyonrails.org/rails/pages/OpenID.
There are a number of blog postings and tutorials about OpenID and Rails, some of which are more out of date than others. Perhaps the best one is railscasts.com/episodes/68, which is a nice visual introduction (along with source code) about what is happening.
Reuven M. Lerner, a longtime Web/database developer and consultant, is a PhD candidate in learning sciences at Northwestern University, studying on-line learning communities. He recently returned (with his wife and three children) to their home in Modi'in, Israel, after four years in the Chicago area.
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