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Test out the Liberty Alliance spec

Jan 27, 20032 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Where you can get hold of the Liberty Alliance spec open source tool kit

If you’ve been itching to get your feet wet designing applications and services around the Liberty Alliance specification for federated identity management, you can now get your hands on an open source tool kit.

The SourceID project ( describes itself as “…an open project site for cross industry collaboration in the development of digital identity infrastructure.” Quite a mouthful, but what it really means is that it’s a place for people with an interest in identity management to hang out and contribute.

The first fruit of the SourceID project is the SourceID Single Sign-on (SSO) Toolkit, now available as a beta product.  This is designed especially for those who don’t want or need to immerse themselves in the details of the Liberty spec or the underlying Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML). Instead, it’s a “drop in” toolkit with a standard API that allows most Java knowledgeable programmers to quickly and easily add single sign-on capabilities to their apps and services.

The tool kit will not directly offer identity storage, retrieval, authentication, or authorization logic. Instead, it will provide well-documented plug-in points, where the tool kit user can write short Java classes that bridge existing systems to the SourceID SSO kernel.

For many, this could act as a rapid prototyping tool so that you can quickly build apps to demonstrate the possibilities of single sign-on. Final development might require that you use tools from Sun, Novell or others that provide finer grained control – but maybe not. You’ll first want to look at the licensing arrangements for the various tool kits before deciding which to use in released products. is also investing quite a bit of time and effort into developing the SourceID Server, a complete authentication, authorization, storage, and provisioning system for identity hosting on a massive scale, but that’s not ready to use as yet. Maybe the interest generated by the SSO tool kit will reenergize the project. gets its funding primarily from the PingID Network, a member-owned organization looking to implement federated identity solutions without the need for separate peering agreements with each federated identity partner. It’s the Federated ID analogy to the banking industry’s Automated Teller Machine network (which I mentioned last week). Find out more at but download the SSO tool kit first so you’ll understand what all the talk is about.