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Re: [widgets] OAuth and openID

From: Scott Wilson <scott.bradley.wilson@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 14:31:48 +0000
Cc: Jon Ferraiolo <jferrai@us.ibm.com>, marcosc@opera.com, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, "public-webapps@w3.org" <public-webapps@w3.org>, public-webapps-request@w3.org
Message-Id: <399F0267-EAF6-4A37-9EF5-AAFB014477FD@gmail.com>
To: Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org>
I agree that postponing any detailed work may be the most pragmatic  
answer, however oAuth is actually a very important technology for  

oAuth enables a user of an application such as a widget to link that  
application to an external service, without the application storing,  
or having access to, any user credentials.

For example, using oAuth, a Photo Widget could get access to a user's  
Flickr account, without the Photo Widget storing the username and  
credentials of the user, just an authorization token that cannot be  
reused for any other user or service. To set up the token, the first  
time the Photo Widget is installed, the user is prompted to go to  
Flickr, log in there, and agree to grant the widget access to the  

Currently very many widgets store user's account details in widget  
preferences as this is the only means of user access they have that  
doesn't involve the user constantly re-entering account details to get  
at basic functionality. In some environments this may not be a  
significant risk, depending on how preferences are stored and  
accessed; however in many cases the fact that a widget can impersonate  
the user (logging on as the user, rather than with a token) causes  
issues for trust and auditing.

Because many widgets are small local applications offered for remote  
services that use different user accounts, oAuth is a very important  
and relevant technology. Which is why, for example, it has been a  
major task in the oAuth and OpenSocial/Gadgets community to integrate  
the technology.

((Note also that last I heard oAuth was going to IETF for  


On 23 Feb 2009, at 11:02, Thomas Roessler wrote:

> On 23 Feb 2009, at 05:15, Jon Ferraiolo wrote:
>> OAuth is a technology that authorizes someone to do something. For  
>> example, an OAuth server might authorize you to cast a vote in an  
>> election. Regarding authorization, in the most common case of W3C  
>> Widgets, you would most likely use something like an OMTP/BONDI  
>> policy file or some sort of platform-specific (maybe implicit)  
>> policy to control authorization instead of OAuth. My thinking is  
>> that you can ignore OAuth for now.
> I think you're conflating policy and protocol here -- OAuth is a way  
> to share an authorization token (and really not much more); it  
> doesn't tell you how to write your authorization policies.
>> If I were on the committee, I would push to finish Widgets 1.0 as  
>> quickly as possible, and then put OpenID and OAuth on the list for  
>> things to consider for Widgets 1.1.
> +1
> OAuth seems most relevant to XMLHttpRequest level 2, and much less  
> relevant to the widget specs.

Received on Monday, 23 February 2009 14:32:45 UTC

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