Superpatterns Pat Patterson on the Cloud, Identity and Single Malt Scotch

5Dec/064

YADIS/XRI Identifier Resolution with SAML 2.0

This week at Internet Identity Workshop 2006b I've been demonstrating some work I've been doing to combine YADIS/XRI Identifier Resolution (as in OpenID) with SAML 2.0 Web Browser SSO Profile. The user experience is:

  1. I go to a service provider (relying party)
  2. I enter my identifier (URL or i-name)
  3. I authenticate at my identity provider
  4. I can access services at the service provider

The magic takes place between steps 2 and 3: the service provider resolves the user's identifier, which might be a URL or an i-name, to the location of a SAML 2.0 identity provider. The service provider can now do vanilla SAML 2.0 with the identity provider. The easiest way to see what's going on is via a demo, so, here you go:


Click to view Flash presentation

By the way - the service provider is implemented on top of Project Lightbulb. I need to do some tidying first, but I'll put the YADIS/XRI code there soon.

UPDATE - coverage of this demo at IIW2006b:

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  1. Does Federated Identity sometimes require Federated Authorization? If so, how come this isn’t ever discussed. Maybe you could address in future blog entry…

  2. Following the proposed model the service provider (relying party) needs to collect every possible identity provider set of metadatas, which takes us again to the Liberty model.
    How can a relying party afford to allow the whole set of identity providers?

  3. Hi Chema, the service provider/relying party does indeed need to fetch metadata for each identity provider (just as an OpenID relying party needs to dereference the user’s URL or i-name for each login), but it need not keep it persistently – the metadata can just be discarded at the end of the login. The service provider can choose to allow all identity providers or only a given set, just as in ‘classic’ OpenID.

  4. Very nice video.
    It would help for people who are a little more new to this though if you added slides in between the messages showing the routing of the messages. You could have a slide of the main actors (the user agent, the web site one is looking for authentication from, the authenticator,…) and have a glowing arrow show the direction of the message.
    Something like that would help get an overview of what is happening.


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