RESTful Identity Services

One of the interesting evolution of online services is this sort of schism between 2 camps: the XML/SOAP based web services camp and the REST camp that's based on HTTP. For having spent considerable time in Liberty Alliance (working on ID-WSF etc.) I've noticed however that the notion of identity has not yet fully permeated into the REST world the way it did with a framework like Liberty's ID-WSF. In this post and the following ones I'd like to introduce some work we've been working on at Sun: a RESTful approach for identity-based services.

Our approach has been to leverage core use case that Liberty's ID-WSF supports and see how one would go about enabling such use case in a RESTful manner. Initially, we addressed the 3 following core phases that take place in such scenario, that is:

  1. Service Registration & Association with a principal's identity
  2. Service Discovery
  3. Service Invocation
These phases can be described as follows:
  • Service Registration addresses the ability of a service provider to register itself at a Discovery Service (explained later) thus making itself discoverable by other services. It also enables a principal to associate services around his identity.
  • Service Discovery is about the ability of a service (consumer) to discover services associated with a principal's identity.
  • Finally Service Invocation is about accessing the service that has been looked up (discovered).

It is important to note that this is more of an R&D project for now. Our goal is to figure out how identity can be fully leveraged in a RESTful approach and get as much feedback as possible.

In the following posts I will detail each of the 3 aforementioned phases.


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Posted by restful on February 06, 2008 at 05:49 PM PST #

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