When I saw the OpenID Connect announcement my hope just went up that, finally, OAuth2 would be getting a decent replacement and it’s annoying web browser logic would go away. Nope, it seems that’s not the case at all, so I came quickly back down to earth and needed to get this out of my system.
I started reading up OpendID Connect specifications. It looked promising until I got to the point where it mentions redirect URI (section “126.96.36.199. Authentication Request” ), there I froze, shock and horror! I don’t get it, why would a 2014 web single sign-on standard specification have such a narrow focus.
When writing a modern web application, if architected properly, one certainly would have completely separate notions of visual and non-visual elements. A web solution that isn’t composable isn’t future-proof and is doomed to quick obsolescence. Yes, sure, the web picked up thanks to HTML and HTTP. But the Internet was there long before all that and, we’re surely heading towards an Internet where a lot of chatty stuff isn’t going to surface to a user until at the very last moment, at a final consumption point. Issues such as identification and data access are to be resolved well before anything is ready to be made visual. Authentication and authorisation are not visualisation problems, they are data access concerns. Data can and should be manipulated in a composable manner, until it’s finally rendered. There should never be any assumption about visualisation in the guts of non-visual elements. Visual elements should be calling on the non-visual elements, not the other way around. That’s how, most probably, the Internet Of Things and any great stuff looming in the horizon would be architected. In this context, I don’t get the reasoning behind tying OpenID Connect to things like browser redirects.
So, OpenID Connect rings quite a few good tones, but it didn’t seem ambitious enough for me to fully empower the next generation Internet solutions. In many ways, it looks like a vendor toy that would be great for tool vendors but developers would need to figure out ways to make it even more usable. That’s a shame, a missed opportunity.
As a follow-up to my posting on people who rant as they quit a job, I stumbled upon a perfect example of how to do it right. And this is the case for Tim Bray’s post on his leaving Google.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, check out Wikipedia (Note: do read Wikipedia disclaimers, I only know Tim through his great work that large swathes of the IT industry depend upon daily).
This is a good post, from a former Microsoft executive:
Every now and then someone departs a job at a well known company then blog about all they’ve seen as evil at now former company. It usually triggers a flurry of commentary. This is just what happened with a former Apple employee blog posting. This is rarely a wise thing to do, but hey, move fast and break things doesn’t mean there would be no consequences.
While such essays might amuse the gallery, gain the author some form of ephemeral fame, they may also have an influence on such person’s employability. For example, whenever I hired someone, I often took what they said about their former employers to be a template of what they would eventually say about me and my company. In most cases I don’t hire a person that slags their former company off, it’s rarely a good sign.
People might have, legitimate or not, reasons to rant about former employment. In many cases, it says more about the person than the job they’ve just left. Obviously I don’t know if there’s any legitimate reason for this person to have ranted the way he did. I am just commenting on the act, as a cautionary tale for the would-be hipsters that might be tempted to copy-cat at each opportunity.
After all, if/when some reprehensible activity should be going on at a company, whistleblowers might help bring to light such misdemeanours. That could be ultimately beneficial to the society. But, in all likelihood, for every whistleblowing action there’s probably dozen of frustrated over-reacting actions.
I wouldn’t go out with a bang if I have hope to land another job somewhere else in the future. There are other ways too. It could be much more productive, while still in employment and actually not fearing of getting fired, to internally vent any frustration one might have. It’s also good to check if the reasons for your frustrations are shared by many or not. If nothing helps then leaving with the good memories is often a better attitude. After all, while at an employment one enjoys some of it and are hoping to help build something up.
If I have a few words for the up and coming professionals: Look for reasons to celebrate something, consider any crap to be the part of unavoidable combustible fuel for moving forward.
The Economist gives a brief overview of the platformisation that is pitting the large players in the IT industry against one another. The real battle raging between Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, Mozilla and others is about just that: each want to be a dominant platform player, each with its own take on the game. There are several fronts in these epic battles, but ultimately it comes down to raking up as much mindshare as possible, hence the purse holder’s attention and interest. Microsoft and Google might be the only ones attempting to fight it on all fronts, it seems to me for example that Apple isn’t really going after Facebook (might have given up), and Facebook’s platform could be seen as both a PaaS and a SaaS play, they may not want or need to go for enterprise data centre market. Linux is also in the same game, though it’s interesting to see that actually Amazon and Google (soon Samsung and Intel via Tizen?) might indirectly doing Linux a favour. I can’t truly read Mozilla yet, Google being their largest source of revenue makes me inclined to think they root for Google in a kind of kinship manner.
I always find it amusing to read some pundits ripping apart one particular vendor, say Apple or Microsoft, and citing Google as a better role model for openness. Linux is the only player that is truly flying the liberal flag, though Linux is more of a movement and isn’t a single vendor in any way. Every vendor is vying for dominance, taking sides is just as much fanboyism as any. Nobody knows for sure where this will all lead us, but I think the consumer wins when there is choice. It’s always going to be daunting to switchover from one platform to another
Here’s The Economist article: Platforms: Something to stand on.
I couldn’t help seeing a parallel between Windows 8 story as told by Paul Thurrott in his latest blog post and what happened with Novell and Netware 4. I was triggered by this phrase:
Windows 8 is tanking harder than Microsoft is comfortable discussing in public, and the latest release, Windows 8.1, which is a substantial and free upgrade with major improvements over the original release, is in use on less than 25 million PCs at the moment. That’s a disaster…
What’s ironic is that, Microsoft was the one who pushed Novell to outdo themselves, and they came out with Netware 4, from which they never recovered. I remember well when Netware 4 shipped and changed everything.
The blog mentioned: “Threshold” to be Called Windows 9, Ship in April 2015