Kim Cameron's Identity Weblog argues back about my dissing Infocard. I got a mention on Doc's Garage as well. Heh!

Here's what I posted back to Kim.

I put up the straw man, and deliberately painted a bleak picture. And rightly you're arguing back ;) I'm also extrapolating a bleak future from some current problems that may or may not resolve themselves. So let me re-state and provide a bit more reasoning.

The touchstone I have is whether Marc Canter's Ourmedia would be able to use Infocard where the end user is using Firefox. Now Ourmedia is based on Drupal and is pretty much a pure PHP implementation. It's representative of a very large number of small to medium sized websites running on pretty simple hosting. And the geek early adopters have switched from IE to Firefox wholesale. If you can't get them on board and evangelising, how will you get the great unwashed on board?

So one piece at a time.

- Firefox. (and Safari, and non Windows clients). Requiring a DLL/ActiveX to use Infocard doesn't completely preclude non-Intel, non-Windows, or non-IE browsers but it makes implementation a damn sight harder.

- PHP SOAP never really got traction. It almost works but the document model is essentially unfinished. Now how long have we been trying to get basic SOAP interop? I seem to have been following this for what feels like at least 4 years. And I'm still reading stories about how this or that toolkit doesn't really work with that or this toolkit in another language.

Now we're talking about building an Identity system on top of a large stack of unfinished protocols on top of a basic communications protocol that still has some interop problems on top of a very common web scripting environment where the bottom level of the stack is not going anywhere. Yup, that'll work.

I fully expect that if you're working with an MS only environment using MS only tools, then Infocard will work. But I can't see anything that says that you want to embrace those millions of Drupal, phpBB, Wordpress, Movable Type, php-Nuke, MediaWiki sites. Now that's a business decision that MS is free to make. But it precludes the whole of the long tail of web building. Including me.

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[ 07-Jun-05 8:38am ] [ ]