wrap – Stay N Alive

Just in Time for the Holidays, FriendFeed Becomes First OAuth Wrap Provider

presentAbout a month ago, Facebook’s David Recordon announced that Facebook was hard at work with the Open Standards Communities on a new OAuth protocol called Wrap.  The goals of the protocol seem to specifically provide a way to direct a user through the authentication process through a client-only model, removing the need for developers to do heavy server-side code to authenticate the user.  Such a model fits well for Facebook, who, through Facebook Connect, has fought to make it as easy as possible to enable developers to authenticate users via simple Javascript and HTML.  It seems Facebook is making through with its promises, by launching FriendFeed as the first OAuth Wrap provider to launch with the new protocol.

The launch comes as a test of a discussion that took place at an OAuth Wrap Community meeting at Facebook headquarters last Tuesday, where it was discussed how to enable client-only authorization of users.  In response, Bret Taylor and the FriendFeed team (I guess, according to Luke Shepard, that means there’s still a team?) produced a working prototype of the model, enabling it on their own site.  Benjamin Golub, who was responsible for FriendFeed’s API before it was acquired by Facebook, confirmed this with the comment, “FriendFeed supports OAuth WRAP now :). Great job Bret, Luke, and David!” on FriendFeed.

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It’s still unclear if this API is available to developers yet, or if it was only a proof-of-concept, but it is clear FriendFeed is very likely becoming a playground for the Facebook team to try out new technologies.  This is promising in that if this continues, FriendFeed should continue to see cool new technologies applied to it way before, and even if, they even the light of day on Facebook.com.

I’m very excited to see the Facebook team pushing these new open, client-side APIs, but even more excited to see the FriendFeed team still cranking out cool new technologies, making this the second one today for the site.  It’s becoming apparent that the FriendFeed team is finally becoming accustomed to Facebook’s internal technologies and architecture, and my hope is that we will soon to see many “beautiful butterflies” come out of what they’ve been working on over the last few months.

Now, if anyone knows how we can try this thing out I’m all ears!

UPDATE: Benjamin Golub has granted my wishes!  He says in the comments: “You can try it out yourself! Register an application at http://friendfeed.com/api/register and then follow along with http://github.com/finiteloop/friendfeed-wrap-example/blob/master/friendfeedwrap.py” – hmmm…new SocialToo feature?