Monday, April 23, 2007

Identity - the toy model

This morning while delivering the opening keynote address for this year's Directory Experts Conference, Kim Cameron introduced me to a new term - "Legonics".

This is a reference to the well-known building blocks, Legos, familiar to anyone under 40, and the parents of those under 40! The great thing about Legos is that any one piece can connect to any other piece. And while you can buy a small set that can build a particular object (such as a fire truck), the pieces in that set can be put together in different ways to build other objects or combined with other sets - or other loose pieces - to build completely different things. So by creating a Legonic Identity System (LIS?) we have one which can put together identity data in various ways to fit the conditions of the moment. Relying Parties, Identity Providers and User Agents can work together to construct sets of Identity Claims from all of the available pieces of identity data.

It's a good analogy, and a good paradigm, I think. I'll probably explore his more in the newsletter.

Hi Dave-- Regarding Legonics, just watch out for interoperability concerns... :-)
The problem happens when one vendor ignores parts of the spec (Lego Interconnectivity Protocol, or LIP) or the common usage (like Microsoft and kerberos).
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