[foaf-protocols] FOAF+SSL delegation: logging in to an HTTP server

Story Henry henry.story at bblfish.net
Tue Apr 28 15:34:10 CEST 2009

Henry Story wrote:
 > The time it takes has no relation to whether or not something is a  
hack. Saying of something that it is a hack is partly an aesthetic  
judgement. [...]

Bruno Harbulot answered:
 > The web is huge, so it is very likely that this hack or similar  
ones will be around for a long time

Kinsley Idehen interjected:
 > Don't know why you like to tag a innovative extension of an  
existing protocol as a "hack".

So to get this clear:

FOAF+SSL in my thinking is *not* a hack: It works with web  
architecture - it is RESTful in the full sense of the word.  
Architecturally it is very sound. And it provides real value: global  
sign on and distributed social networks.

The FOAF+SSL delegation services we are building here, and that I'd  
like to get on with, *are* hacks, because they are just simple bridges  
to help people without the required infrastructure to get going. The  
value delivered by these services is entirely dependent on the value  
of FOAF+SSL. There is nothing wrong with creating such services. They  
are useful - even essential perhaps. But they are not ends in  

Furthermore these services have very very little interoperability  
requirements. Every such "IdP" could create its own protocol to help  
services that do not have SSL help to find a user's WebID, and there  
would be absolutely no problem. Even the switching costs of a service  
from one such service to another would be minimal. As a proof foaf.me  
switched to using the foafssl.org service provider in less than 3  
minutes, a few weeks ago.

Henry Story therefore completely agrees with Kingsley who wrote:
> Unobtrusive delivery of innovative technology with minimum  
> disruption to existing infrastructure is how technology is supposed  
> to be delivered.
> FOAF+SSL and Linked Data are two of the greatest examples of  
> principle above that  I've ever encountered (and I've been around  
> for a very long time).  They are truly ingenious uses of existing  
> infrastructure.

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