I mentioned this idea back in March when I was working on an early draft of OAuth 2.0. The past few days I've actually started to write a modest proposal. Quoting from http://openidconnect.com/:
Did you know that OpenID was last updated in 2007? Since then we've seen OAuth 1.0 and 2.0. Facebook Connect. OpenSocial. Google FriendConnect. Rich address book APIs. And more recently, Twitter @anywhere.
In 2005 I don't think that Brad Fitzpatrick or I could have imagined how successful OpenID would become. Today there are over 50,000 websites supporting it and that number grows into the millions if you include Google FriendConnect. There are over a billion OpenID enabled URLs and production implementations from the largest companies on the Internet.
But we as a community must be willing to take a step back and realize that there's still a long way to go. The early draft below is meant to inspire and help revitalize the OpenID community. It isn't perfect, but hopefully it's a real starting point. It is designed to be modern, removing support for features which haven't seen adoption and adding support for things like using your email address as your identity.
We've heard loud and clear that sites looking to adopt OpenID want more than just a unique URL; social sites need basic things like your name, photo, and email address. When Joseph Smarr and I built the OpenID/OAuth hybrid we were looking for a way to provide that functionality, but it proved complex to implement. So now there's a simple JSON User Info API similar to those already offered by major social providers.
We have also heard that people want OpenID to be simple. I've heard story after story from developers implementing OpenID 2.0 who don't understand why it is so complex and inevitably forgot to do something. With OpenID Connect, discovery no longer takes over 3,000 lines of PHP to implement correctly. Because it's built on top of OAuth 2.0, the whole spec is fairly short and technology easy to understand. Building on OAuth provides amazing side benefits such as potentially being the first version of OpenID to work natively with desktop applications and even on mobile phones.
Why the name "OpenID Connect"? I'm a geek which means that good branding (or good design) isn't my thing, but Chris Messina (who is good at branding and design) proposed it a few months ago. As Chris said in January, "I want OpenID Connect to be what Facebook and Google and others implement that becomes the interoperable identity interchange protocol for the social web. But we're not quite there yet, though all the technology is on the verge of being...ready." To me, OpenID Connect captures both the product experience and technological evolution. Not to mention that "OpenID 3.0" just sounds like we're trying too hard.
So with that background, I hope you understand where this proposal came from. It was written in just a few days and I am really hoping that by sharing a technical proposal (along with a few bits of code) we can start having an actual conversation about the future of OpenID. Want to discuss it, jump on email@example.com. Or see you in person at the Internet Identity Workshop.
Thanks to a bunch of people who I've talked with about this over the past few months. I really can't claim credit for the idea, just writing down and gluing together good ideas. Specifically I'd like to call out Eran Hammer-Lahav (who actually wrote some of the text!), Allen Tom, Chris Messina, Evan Gilbert, Joseph Smarr, Luke Shepard, and Martin Atkins for their ideas and quick feedback!