Microsoft has released a software development kit for a service that enables users who log in through one website to be authenticated on many others.
It’s the company’s latest attempt to get other website developers to use its Windows Live ID system, Microsoft’s authentication mechanism for services such as Hotmail and Xbox Live.
The company is hoping third parties will use the kit, called Windows Live ID Web Authentication 1.0, for their websites or other rich-client applications.
The software kit represents a revamped incarnation of Microsoft’s Passport Network authentication system, which failed to catch on much beyond Microsoft’s own websites. Microsoft contends that its large Live ID user base, which it counts at 380 million users, already gives website operators an incentive to use its system.
Microsoft is offering the kit in six programming languages: ASP.Net, Java, Perl, PHP, Python and Ruby.
The application is platform independent and will work on Linux as well as XP and Vista OSes, Microsoft says.
If a website incorporates Microsoft’s authentication, their users will be directed to a Window Live ID sign-in page hosted by Microsoft. After users log in, they’re sent back to the original website with a special, site-specific identifier.
That identifier can be used by the website to assign certain rights or personalised content for specific users.