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OpenId

Mark Mzyk | April 22, 2008

I opted to join the OpenId crowd.  Do I really have any use for OpenId?  No, not really.  Now that I have it, I’ll see where I can use it and start trying to utilize it.

Here’s the link to my OpenId page, for your perusal:

http://openid.programmersparadox.com/mmzyk

I signed up with myOpenId, but that might not be obvious from the URL above because I opted to use their service and make my domain my OpenId.

I think it’s cool that my domain can be my OpenId.  That was really the thing that made me decide to try it out.  I didn’t want to have yet another login with another provider, but being able to tie a portable identity to my own domain?  Now that was worth trying.

I’m happy now that I figured it out, but it is much more difficult than it should be.

First, I had to modify my DNS records to get the openid sub-domain setup on programmersparadox.  I don’t have access to the DNS records for this site, but my awesome hosting provider, Laughing Squid, set that up for me and set it up quickly, less than half a day after I requested it be done.

So far so good, but then came the pain.  To set up OpenId for programmersparadox, I had to first sign up on myOpenId.  Then I associated my domain with my account.  That’s easy eough.  Then I created the first OpenId account under programmersparadox, which is, naturally, my own.

Guess what?  It’s a completely separate account from the original I set up with myOpenId.  I now had to create an account with myOpenId under the programmersparadox domain.  Creating the account isn’t hard, although it took me a good while to finally decipher what the login name was for the new account, since the setup process doesn’t make it clear.

Once that was figured out, all I wanted to do was replicate the information from my original myOpenId account to the new OpenId account associated with programmersparadox.  I never found a way to do that automatically.  I ended up re-entering and copying and pasting the information by hand.

Come on myOpenId.  You’ve got a good thing going, now you just need to make it easier to use.  If I, as a technology guy, am having this much trouble, I can’t imagine what the luddite is going to think when I’m trying to convince them to sign up for this.

Filed in: General,Technology.

3 Comments

  1. Comment by Luke Hoersten:

    I think you are using the wrong feature for the job for your domain. What you’ve set up is the equivalent to Google Apps and a domain. A way to give all the users of your domain an OpenID. In that sense, myOpenID’s acted exactly as I’d expect (and the way Google Apps works).

    myOpenID, in your defense, does not make this clear at all! I emailed them when they first released this because I felt like they were misleading users into this more complex setup. Here’s an email explanation from Mike Glover, myOpenID support:

    “myOpenID for Domains is intended for small or medium-sized groups of people that want an easy way to set up branded OpenIDs for their entire group. It has two advantages over adding openid.server to your metadata:

    1. Easier setup, especially if you’re setting up a lot of accounts
    2. Your signin on myopenid.com is the same as your identifier

    For just setting up one or two accounts on your domain, it’s probably more trouble than it’s worth. We’ll be adding some more information to the site about choosing the best method to use your domain with OpenID soon.”

    I wrote a guide a while ago to better explain how I set up all my stuff. I use Google Apps for most of it. To be more canonical, the way you’ve set it up is better anyway.

    Unified Web Persona: Custom OpenID & G-Talk URLs

    Let me know if this fits more with what you were initially expecting.

    -Luke

    April 26, 2008 @ 20:31
  2. Comment by Mark:

    I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. Certainly not anything different than what I found. While I’m not planning at the current time to use my domain to link to a bunch of openid accounts, I still thought it would be cool to set it up so that my openid pointed to my domain. For a single account it might have been easier just to link to myOpenID or some other provider. Certainly that is what users will have to do if they can’t modify their DNS.

    My biggest complaint isn’t with the end result or that I even potentially set up more than I needed. It is that myOpenID does not make the process clear. Point 2 in the email from Mike Glover is: your signin on myopenid.com is the same as your identifier. Nowhere did I see that on the myOpenID site, so I fumbled in the dark until I figured it out on my own. It’s the small things like that that myOpenID needs to fix.

    Once they do that, it should be a great service. I just thought I’d point out what I saw as the faults now so that maybe myOpenID will read them and get better and so that others who want to try the process can learn from what I went through.

    April 28, 2008 @ 20:47
  3. Comment by Luke Hoersten:

    Yeah good point. I thought just the metadata linking in the page (the process I posted) was also very hard to find and figure out, even though it’s easy once you see how it’s supposed to be. They definitely don’t seem to be trying for usability, do they?

    April 28, 2008 @ 20:49