Aiming to solve the problems inherently associated with identity in applications, Microsoft has made available for download codename Geneva. The November 25 release, available on the Microsoft Download Center, is designed to support not only Windows Vista RTM/SP1 and Windows Server 2008 RTM/SP1, but also Windows 7.
According to the Redmond company, Geneva is an open platform, designed to streamline user access, while relying on claims. In this context, Geneva is intimately connected with the Windows CardSpace identity technology from Microsoft, in the sense that it can be used to either use CardSpace for access, or in the absence of CardSpace, it can implement claims-based access, with claims being capable of delivering a variety of information.
“A claim might contain traditional things such as a user’s name and group memberships, generally useful information such as her address, or other descriptive data such as her age,” reads an excerpt of the Introducing Geneva whitepaper.
“A claim might also identify the roles a user can act in, providing more information that the application can use to make an access control decision. Yet, another possibility is to use a claim to indicate explicitly the user’s right to do something, such as access a file, or to restrict some right, such as setting an employee’s purchasing limit. Because an application can count on getting the identity information it needs in a token, claims-based identity makes life simpler for application developers.”
The first Beta of Geneva was introduced at the end of October 2008. The bits available via the Download Center this week are nothing more than the Beta 1 build that developers can test drive even on Windows 7. Microsoft is offering both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Geneva Identity Server, Geneva Framework, the Geneva Framework SDK, as well as the setup files for the platform.
“With the advent of 'Geneva' Server, CardSpace 'Geneva,' and the 'Geneva' Framework, all of the pieces required to use claims-based identity on Windows are here. While this style of working with identity is far from a Microsoft-only initiative, making these components widely available for Windows is bound to make it more popular. For anyone who cares about improving the way we use identity in the digital world, this is certainly a step forward,” reads the conclusion of the Geneva whitepaper.
Microsoft Code Name “Geneva” is available for download here.