Login Niftiness

In addition to this blog, I also have a LiveJournal. Recently, I found myself wanting to adapt some ideas from LiveJournal onto this site. Here are two things that strike me as interesting:

Login Box

The login box for LiveJournal is nicely formatted. It looks like this:

I like the way they’ve made the icon appear inside the actual entry field. Here’s how LiveJournal does that:

<input ...
  style='background: url(https://stat.livejournal.com/img/userinfo.gif) no-repeat;
  background-color: #fff;
  0px 1px; padding-left: 18px;
  color: #00C;
  font-weight: bold;'/>

There’s a large number of blogs and community sites that I like to interact with; it’d be nice if I could get away with only a few userids/passwords that I could use on all those sites.

OpenID Support

LiveJournal supports a distributed authentication mechanism called OpenID. Using OpenID, I can comment on a blog that uses, say, Movable Type by providing my LiveJournal userid/password. The support for this is pretty slick; at no point do I need to give my password to anyone other than LiveJournal. Unlike, say, Microsoft Passport, it’s not a centralized credential repository – it’s much more decentralized.

This is especially interesting because there are a growing number of annoying bots out there that know how to register themselves onto community web sites so that they can spam bulletin boards and blogs with links to their marketing literature. That’s a growing problem with allowing people to register themselves with web sites.

Conveniently, there’s a Java implementation of OpenID called IDPrism. It’s relatively straight-forward to get going quickly with OpenID support.

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