October 9th, 2008

JanRain helps the other side of the OpenID (and OAuth) equation


JanRain RPXIt’s no secret that I fancy Portland the hub of OpenID development. And it’s days like today that I actually sound like I know about that which I am blabbering.

You see, today Portland-based JanRain, one of the old guard in terms of OpenID, unveiled a new service that has the potential to increase OpenID adoption.

How? By focusing not on those people holding an OpenID, but on those who want to allow people to use that OpenID—but simply can’t figure out how.

With this new software-as-a-service solution (that’s a lot of “s”s, isn’t it?), RPX, JanRain has the makings of a service that allows anyone to drop OpenID support—and OAuth support for that matter—into place on their site. Simply and easily.

With RPX you don’t need to become a security expert, a protocol expert, or play through a number of security and data flow problems, RPX handles all of this for you and delivers a simple payload in either JSON or XML.

In my mind, JanRain’s solution has a great deal in common with Will Norris’ brilliant OpenID plugin for WordPress, wp-openid. But for a much larger audience.

With RPX, JanRain has the opportunity to take that same kind of plug-and-play OpenID login concept to the larger Web—beyond blogs—to the companies who could greatly benefit from the technology.

And that’s very cool.

It’s also cool that they could be making some money off of subscription fees to deliver that service.

As an aside, I’m also happy to report that JanRain gains the distinction of being the first Portland company that I got to cover for ReadWriteWeb. And I can’t tell you how great it is to share the amazing tech scene here in Portland on that larger stage.

Well and speaking of that larger stage, JanRain also garnered coverage on a little tech blog of which you may have heard, TechCrunch.

Dare I say “YAY Portland!”? Indeed I do.

Still hungry for more OpenID news? Fear not, gentle reader. A little bird tells me that they’ll be some more cool OpenID stuff being released here in Portland within the next week or so.

Just you wait.

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4 Responses to “JanRain helps the other side of the OpenID (and OAuth) equation”

  1. Peat Bakke says:

    Another fun tool they’ve released is OPX — the issuing side of the equation. It’s great because it gives you the flexibility to determine how to best authenticate your users (password, multi-factor, card reader, whatever), leaving the service to handle the actual OpenID transaction process.

    It’s also handy if you have an existing user base and authentication process, and you want an relatively easy way to issue OpenIDs to all of your users.

    Cool stuff.

  2. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Peat You caught me. I was kind of downplaying that part of the announcement.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I have more than enough ways to acquire an OpenID. And I even have OpenIDs that I don’t know that I have because they aren’t widely publicized. But I have far too little access to actual sites and services using that OpenID (or twelve). ;)

    (I think Aaron Hockley made a great tangential point in this vein—”Should you be an OpenID provider?”—with regards to similar functionality in wp-openid: http://twurl.cc/5r2 )

    It would be great to see this JanRain service—and others like it—shift that situation.

  3. [...] Turoczy | January 19, 2009 I like to proffer that Portland, Oregon, is the hub of OpenID (whether it’s true or not). That’s why I love days like today [...]

  4. [...] like to proffer that Portland, Oregon, is the hub of OpenID (whether it’s true or not). That’s why I love days like today [...]


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