Johannes Ernst's Blog : Julian thinks "InfoCard will fall at the first fence"

Yet again the distributed conversation that is blogging fails because I didn't notice somebody blogging about something I wrote. Dammit.

I've written here and on Kim Cameron's and Marc Canter's blogs that InfoCards is doomed because MS cannot implement a standard that is genuinely open. They're completely stuck in architecting something that relies on ActiveX, Internet Explorer and the WS-Stack of SOAP protocols. It's completely understandable why they do this. But it's also just about guaranteed to fail. The reliance on ActiveX and IE rejects macs, linux and firefox on the desktop. The reliance on the WS-Stack rejects PHP/PERL/Python on the server and it probably rejects Java as well because interop with plain old SOAP is patchy let alone the full stack. Basically, if you don't use an MS development environment you can pretty much guess it won't work. And compatibility or at least the ability to interop with things like SAML, PingID and Liberty is a noble goal, but I wouldn't bet money on it unless I could afford large numbers of Accenture contractors.

So yet again, MS are trying to create a global standard, but a global standard that only works on their platform and so re-inforces MS Windows. I guess they can't do anything else. But frankly that means it's irrelevant to me. And I reckon it's irrelevant to at least 60% of the market and probably more like 75%. And given that it's going to be non-trivial to implement, we're probably back to a handfull of the huge players. At which point it's irrelevant to all of us. Who cares that you can sign in to Amazon with your Hotmail ID?

Every player with very large numbers of accounts has the ability to create an Identity standard. But most of them rightly focus on their core business and this is just a distraction. However it's interesting to speculate about who else might pick up this opportunity. Google? Skype? That last one looks very interesting. Identity + Presence looks like being functionally rich.

Back to Infocards. The touch stone for me now for any new Identity standard is whether Marc Canter and can use it. You can be sure Marc would want to as it's core to Digital Lifestyle Aggregators. And since Ourmedia is PHP, Drupal based, it's a good lowest common denominator. If it works there it will work almost anywhere.

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