Success brings complexities too

Pamela Dingle is the awesome, programming, geek, girl Canadian who runs The Pamela Project.   She produced the WordPress InfoCard plugin that I use on my blog.  In this piece, she has a different take on Information Card adoption:

“It has been a while since I’ve meandered through my thoughts on where the world of the Identity Metasystem is going these days.

“A few entries in the blogosphere have examined what this system is not – which is in common use. I can’t deny the truth of such statements. However, what I do see, is a growing number of people who are contacting me, because they are working hard to change this fact.

“I can honestly say that I don’t worry about whether Information Cards will succeed. What I worry about, is what happens when it does. To me, this is why it is critical to run interops via OSIS, and not only that, but to create a body of work that anyone can use to understand, test, and create correctly operating components. We are in the lull before the storm.

“Have you ever heard the term ‘victims of our own success’? This is what we will be, if the wave of mass adoption comes, and we haven’t made it easy to be a GOOD member of the Identity Metasystem. If we don’t set community consensus on edge cases, abuse cases, some common standards for basic user interface, and other such things now, if we all don’t get busy implementing and learning from our mistakes and fixing them while it is still easy to do so, it is going to be chaos when suddenly the big thing is for every site out there to accept Information Cards.

“My view is, that user-centric technology in general is a massive tsunami moving towards the coast. It doesn’t look like much now because the wavelength is long — but once we get close to shore… If I’m right, there will be a sudden, immediate, and critical demand for architects, sys-admins, and developers with experience in this space. The more mistakes we make now and learn from, the less mistakes these future techies will have to make en masse.

“… and if I’m wrong about the tsunami — well I guess we’ll all have stories to tell around the campfire…. :)


Chris Arnold, another (German) thinker with no axes to grind, reports on what he's seing:

I just want to say that CardSpace is much more than a “product” that can be used on Microsoft Websites. First of all it´s not a product. Secondly it´s one of the options that the “Generation Me” needs. Control and Choice.

Personally I am knowing many different and cool applications that are using Windows CardSpace (I build some hehe). I want to underline the word application. There are applications like the Otto Store which is an application that is build completely with the help of WebServices.  Integrated into a large backend powered by, and this is the main point, JAVA(!). We build a facade in front of hundreds of sun servers :-)   So, how? By talking standards :-)  That´s all.

Yes, the application is the key.  More on this later.  Meanwhile Chris says he's going to start publishing an RSS feed of CardSpace projects, and invites people to contact him with appropriate info.

Finally, I've started publishing a “sockets guage” on my homepage – a thermometer that represents my best estimate of the percentage of desktops capable of running Information Cards  (at the current time, this is just over 11%.  I'll try to update it monthly, working with others so our estimates are across Windows, Macs and Linux Desktops.) 

It will be interesting to watch developments as this moves up to 30% and then to 60% and then to 90%, each with  potentially greater network effects.  We had better solve the problems Pamela raises before those effects start to kick in. 

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Kim Cameron

Work on identity.

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