The Liberty Alliance and OASIS have reached another milestone in their collaborative efforts to drive the convergence of identity standards.
Last week, the Liberty Alliance released the public draft of its Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF) 2.0 specification, which has been extended to support the OASIS SAML 2.0 specification. SAML 2.0 is expected to be officially ratified as an OASIS standard in March 2005.
By leveraging the latest iteration of the ID-WSF framework, developers can use SAML assertions to communicate identity information such as authentication status, user attributes and authorization decisions between identity-based Web service transactions.
ID-WSF builds upon Liberty's Identity Federation Framework (ID-FF), which is used for identity federation through account linkage and simplified sign-on. The ID-WSF provides the framework for building interoperable identity-based Web services.
ID-WSF 2.0 is being released in three phases and the first draft release focuses primarily on SAML 2.0 support. In addition, the first public draft includes early support for the subscription/notification feature, which notifies Web service clients of subsequent changes to identity resources, according to Paul Madsen of NTT's Information Sharing Platform Laboratory and a co-chair of Liberty's Technology Expert Group.
The second and third phases of ID-WSF 2.0 will center on particular use cases and requirements defined by Liberty members.
"Subsequent releases of ID-WSF 2.0 will include support for group/role management for users (e.g., sending an e-mail to all the members of a soccer team), multi-user interactions (e.g., helping parents locate their children) and intelligent devices (e.g., smart phones)," Madsen said.
Nokia, one of the founding members of Liberty, has already implemented ID-WSF in its smart phone devices, according to a statement.
Liberty: Standards convergence is key
Just last year, Liberty gained momentum by adding industry heavyweights IBM, Intel Corp. and Oracle Corp. to its board of members. In January 2005, George Goodman, the director of Intel's Visualization and Trust Lab, was elected the new president of the Liberty Alliance Project's management board.
Goodman's vision has yielded fruit with the convergence of ID-WSF and SAML 2.0; however, not everybody's on board the convergence bandwagon.
Microsoft, proponent of the WS-* set of standards, has not followed partner IBM's move to join Liberty, despite waning support for its proprietary Passport service.
"In my view, Liberty, as well as Microsoft and others associated with Microsoft, and others that work with them in the WS-* efforts, clearly support identity management. I think there are plenty of opportunities to still converge and produce the number of different standards that need to be supported in the world," Goodman said.