Thursday, December 20, 2007

Discovery, wherefore art thou Discovery?

The web seems "a buzz" these days with different flavors of "discovery". I've recently been hearing more and more need for Personal Service Discovery. This is coming from both internal and external customers. Two key questions are asked. (1) What is the user's preferred service? (e.g. picture service) and (2) Where is this user's specific service located. The two questions are not mutually exclusive. What I find quite humorous is that the Liberty Alliance has had a "Discovery Service" for quite some time that is capable of answering both those questions (and others). I wish I had Paul's witty way of poking fun... but alas I'm not that talented.

Here are a few recent proposals for "Discovery" services. I'm sure there are many I'm missing...

  • XRI Resolution -- a mechanism for describing and querying personal service endpoints (among other things)
  • XRD Provisioning Protocol (XPP) -- an XRI based mechanism for Service Providers to attach their service to a user's individual XRDS file hosted by the user's IdP
  • "DHCP for Identity" -- "As users, our identity, photos, videos and other forms of personal data should be discoverable by, and shared between our chosen tools or vendors."
  • Dynamic Federation -- service provider metadata is discovered via transformation of a user identifier
  • OAuth Discovery 1.0 Draft 1 -- This is really "service provider metadata" that is "discoverable".

Interesting to me is the leveraging of XRDS as a containing structure for describing service metadata amongst a number of these proposals. Anyway my hope is that as an industry we leverage all the work that has already been done while looking for ways to make things easier for users and developers.

"Standing on the shoulders of giants" comes to mind.

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