Mar 232012
 

I have pushed out version 1.20 of Photonic, with one big feature: authentication.

Almost all providers of online services offer some sort of authentication mechanism, typically OAuth. This includes Twitter, Flickr, Google, Facebook etc. A lot of these platforms have in fact moved away from proprietary authentication mechanisms to OAuth to support third-party integration. In the simplest terms, OAuth is a protocol that lets users access protected content without having to specify their user name and password.

So far Photonic has been built for Flickr, Picasa, 500px.com and SmugMug. I have added authentication / authorization as follows:

  1. Flickr: Fully implemented. This will let you share private / protected photos across your network. Check out the authentication demo.
  2. 500px.com: Fully implemented, but there isn’t much benefit you gain by setting it up. Basically 500px.com offers a total of 3 types of web services (Photos, Users and Blogs), of which Photonic implements one (Photonic), which doesn’t need OAuth. Note that at this point 500px.com doesn’t support private / protected photos.
  3. SmugMug: Here is where I am unhappy. Their OAuth API is amazingly comprehensive, yet I couldn’t extract much mileage simply from a photo viewing perspective. I originally thought it would let me show password-protected photos, but I had no such luck. I have posted on their forum and hopefully I will have a solution soon for handling this. Anyway, I have built out the authentication capabilities, but I will have to think about how to harness the capabilities better in a subsequent release.

Unfortunately Picasa is ahead of the curve in this regard, which is a surprise given that their API is the weakest, hence the paucity of plugins as good as Photonic for Picasa. Picasa uses OAuth 2.0, while the others use OAuth 1.0. Given my workload these days I wasn’t able to add OAuth 2.0 support to Photonic, but it is something I shall do very soon.

Happy authentication!

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