[foaf-protocols] WebID talk at W3C

Henry Story henry.story at gmail.com
Wed Aug 25 09:54:51 CEST 2010

On 25 Aug 2010, at 06:05, Manu Sporny wrote:

> On 08/24/2010 12:41 AM, Kingsley Idehen wrote:
>> I have one little issue. The demo, your platform demo,  isn't one I 
>> would call representative of WebID's essence.
>> Sorry, but I still don't get the elevation of Manu's solution to 
>> definitive demo status re. WebID.
>> Manu: no offense intended here, but this simply doesn't feel right at
>> all.
> No offense taken. However, I should point out that it is our demo that
> was the basis for this meeting with the W3C this coming Thursday.

That is very good, and much appreciated. Though perhaps if I had presented them a demo, they would also have been very interested? 

> One of
> the things they were expecting to see was a demo of WebID - and that was
> supposed to be a small part of an overall demonstration on Identity on
> the Web.

Now they want 20 minutes of WebID+flash, and a very small mention of WebID. I am going to put that down to Doug Schepers, who seems intent on creating increasing tension whenever he can - as I think people on this list witnessed very clearly last week, forcing us to EXCUSE ourselves, for mentioning the existence of this meeting! WoW! It's frankly not surprising given the way he deals with external communities, that most of the work in the social web space has occurred outside of the W3C. (sorry just had to let off a bit of steam there, having been quiet and taking abuse on the chin for a week now)

> I've also been talking with Henry and he said that he'd have a more
> representativve WebID demo as a 2-3 minute video ready by the time that
> we present. I've already said that we'd integrate that into the slide deck.

Yes, I'll put this together today. I'll contact you via skype. We also need to work on the presentation. Perhaps we should present together, so that we can present somewhat more of a community face, after this infighting.

> Re: the Js+Flash WebID demo, we have tried to be true to the WebID spec
> as it stands right now. Specifically, this section:
> http://payswarm.com/webid/#authentication-sequence
> We do steps #1-#4 right now. #5 and #6 is something we're working on,
> but has been proven already via other implementations... it's just a
> matter of hooking up an RDF/XML parser or XHTML+RDFa parser and doing a
> query on the resulting graph.

I think this whole debate would not have taken place, or would have been massively reduced and with a much more narrow focus if you had implemented the *authentication* piece! I mean this is an authentication protocol.

Then we all could logged into this site with our existing WebIDs and also created a new Flash WebID. We could have commented on the issues, etc... We would have had a new player that we can interact with. Perhaps your site could even give us flash webids with the same webids we use when we login normally....

Furthermore the authentication piece is not that difficult in php. Ask Melvin Carvalho, of foaf.me. It's a few lines of code to implement now I believe in php. And it's open source. That's what this list is for.

> I think much of the misunderstandings of what the demo does and does not
> do can be chalked up to not having the proper documentation in place to
> explain exactly what is happening with the Javascript + Flash WebID demo
> and what our development timeline looks like.


> It seems to me that both Henry, Kinsgley and Joe are saying that even if
> we implement steps #1-#6, and we allow export of WebID to the browser
> keychain that we still wouldn't be "representative of WebID's essence".

No, not necessarily. It really depends on what that documentation looks like, how well it interoperates, etc... I am quite hopeful it could work. All I had a bit of a problem with, was the over emphasis on a technology in a meeting presenting identity, where that tech has not yet been looked at in detail.

> I'm having a hard time understanding what we are missing as both Henry
> and Kingsley are listing different things at different levels of importance.

Very simple:
 1 the authentication bit, allowing our current webids to login
 2 documentation of how it works: where do you store the certificate, how do sites get access to it and the private key, etc...
 3 interoperability tests - getting it to work across multiple sites

3. will require us to be convinced by 1 and 2, as that may mean we have to do something on our servers to implement flash+js. 

>> Joe Presbrey wrote:
>> Agreed. I think it would be a sad waste of WebID's 15 minutes to
>> mention Javascript or Flash.
> We never intended to focus on that part since it's an implementation
> detail. It doesn't matter in the long run since we want this stuff to be
> in browsers. However, we have to have a good answer to the "What if
> browser vendors don't see things in the way that the WebID community
> sees things?". How do we get from login/identity on the Web today to the
> promised land of WebID 3 years from now?

that is indeed useful, and I am supportive of that. 

But what is really important to me is that the community be interoperable, that we work together and strengthen each other. That together we try to solve the problems we come across. For example without your input we would never have thought of using flash here. And there may be quite a lot to learn from the community too for you.

>> A WebID demo should simply be a URI that enables login/signup using 
>> WebIDs generated by any WebID protocol compliant platform.  A more 
>> neutral demonstration of WebID prowess resides at: 
>> https://ophelia.g5n.co.uk:10443/cheese/
> Henry has reassured me that he will have a demo like this, ready to
> present to W3C by Thursday. So we have both approaches covered.


> -- manu
> -- 
> Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
> President/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
> blog: WebID - Universal Login for the Web
> http://blog.digitalbazaar.com/2010/08/07/webid/2/
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