I finished several of my new projects recently and will be announcing a few over the long weekend. One I feel is ready for use is my OpenID provider Portable Name.
OpenID is an simplified way of logging in to your favorite sites. It enables you to sign in anywhere (that accepts OpenID) using a single username and password, which you control. This eliminates the need to register again and again and provides security because you won’t have to give your password to anyone but your OpenID provider.
Many sites currently accept OpenID while others offer them, but don’t accept them. Facebook and MySpace are in the process of offering them, but don’t allow you to sign in with one yet.
All my sites allow OpenID login, and some only allow OpenID so I don’t have to go through all the trouble of verifying accounts. Major sites that currently use them are Blogger, LiveJournal, Plaxo, Flickr, Ma.gnolia, and Identi.ca. A large number of new sites are coming OpenID ready too.
How do I use OpenID?
When you come to a page that allows OpenID, you simply give them your identity and will be allowed to do what you were wanting to do. This page will let you comment using your OpenID, others will register or sign you in when you give your ID.
What happens is done behind the scenes. The page you are on will contact your OpenID provider to verify your ID and get any credentials (name, email and such) they need. If you weren’t already signed in to your OpenID provider they will ask for your username and password (they are the only ones who receive it), and if authenticated correctly, your request on the first page will be processed.
Simply put: I give http://portable.name/chad as my OpenID and never again have to remember another username or password.
Why Portable Name?
There are many, many places where you can register an OpenID, but the whole point is to have one single sign on. I made Portable Name simple, so once you register and verify your account you never need to stop by again.
If you choose to, you can set a Portable Name profile to be given out as your default profile when you register for a new site. Other than that, there are no unnecessary bells and whistles. Portable Name is just another address for OpenID, but in my opinion portable.name/chad is more meaningful than others.
Once you choose an OpenID provider you can also use your own blog or site as your OpenID, which is what I do with http://thatsmith.com/. To do this, edit the page you want to turn into an OpenID by adding:
<link rel="openid.server" href="http://portable.name/yourID"> <link rel="openid.delegate" href="http://portable.name/yourID">
In the HEAD section of your source.
Sign up for OpenID with Portable Name.