Here’s one reason to get interested in Microsoft CardSpace now

* A helping hand to handle online authentication

For a while now, I’ve touted Windows Vista to my enterprise IT readers of the Windows Networking newsletter. One of the main reasons for doing so is the introduction of the .Net 3.0 framework. And one of the major reasons I’m extolling that is Windows CardSpace.

Now we all know that CardSpace, initially, will suffer the classic “chicken and egg” problem – users won’t be interested in CardSpace until the Web sites they visit use CardSpace for authentication. And those Web sites won’t be interested until a number of their users ask for CardSpace-based authentication. But that’s all about the consumer market. In the Windows Networking newsletter, I’m addressing the enterprise market, which needs to pay attention to CardSpace right now.

For a few years we’ve been talking about all of the many ways that it’s possible to introduce reduced and simplified sign-on (SSO) to the enterprise. CardSpace is simply the latest offering in that line. But a new toolkit could make CardSpace the acknowledged leader in SSO for in-house developed applications.

Many of your in-house developers are already using the .Net framework and Microsoft’s Visual Studio to create and maintain your in-house apps and services. Handling authentication, though, has been difficult at best. Now a hero has ridden forth.

At the recent at the .Net Users Group meeting in Frankfurt, Germany’s Christian Arnold demonstrated his Visual Studio 2005 Tool "CreateCardSpaceUserWizard", just one part of his “Visual Studio 2005 Toolbox for Windows CardSpace”. Microsoft CardSpace godfather Kim Cameron was impressed, and says about it: “The ToolBox provides an easy way to use Windows CardSpace in your ASP.NET 2.0 Web-Application to register and validate your users. It´s also possible to use the controls to receive a SAML token and get the decrypted values of provided claims.”

It’s easy to use, handles user authentication via CardSpace, and simply plugs into the Visual Studio toolbox. Visit Arnold’s Web site, get the tools, read the easy installation instructions and start integrating CardSpace with your in-house apps. Heck, it’s easy enough that commercial developers should use it to CardSpace-enable their consumer-facing online apps. As Kim also said, “Christian goes on to explain how to use the system with the default ASP.NET 2.0 Membership-Provider. Clearly, there are a great many sites built on this Membership-Provider technology and the emergence of this toolkit in the identity ecosystem is a major event.”

Lay those eggs, watch the chickens hatch!

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