Review: Sharepoint 2010, Claims Based Identity, Facebook, and the Cloud

If you ever wondered how SharePoint 2010, the cloud, and Facebook could be used together (or why, for that matter) to create a public-facing website, you should have attended the April meeting of the Federal SharePoint User Group (FEDSPUG).  At the meeting, Danny Jessee gave the presentation “SharePoint 2010, Claims-Based Identity, Facebook, and the Cloud”.  The main premise of the presentation being developers don’t want to tackle the sometimes daunting identity issues that arise with creating public-facing websites requiring authentication.   And, with SharePoint 2010’s claim-based identity, Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Services (ACS), and identity providers like Facebook, developers can delegate managing identity to these technologies.

For the SharePoint uninitiated, Jessee’s introduction to the topic–explaining authentication and authorization, claims-based and classic-mode authentication, Azure AppFabric ACS, and the services offered by identity providers–made the subject accessible.  He then demonstrated the creation of a SharePoint 2010 web application and a Facebook app that would verify the users’ identities, the configuration of Azure AppFabric ACS for Facebook support, and the delegation of Azure as the trusted identity provider in SharePoint, which was a fairly straightforward process.

With the identity matters addressed, Jessee went on to demonstrate how the newly acquired Facebook token information of the user could be employed in the SharePoint site to update the user’s display name, provide local weather data, populate a calendar with the birthdays of Facebook friends (if said friends’ privacy settings allowed it), and take pictures with a webcam and upload the pictures to a document library with Microsoft Silverlight.

Jessee’s presentation was the second of the night.  The first was Matthew Bramer’s “The Alphabet Soup of Front-End Development: (XML/XSLT/XPath/jQuery/JavaScript/SPServices/CSS/(X)HTML/CAML/ClientOM)”, which was called off due to compatibility issues he was having with his graphics card and the projector. Hopefully, he’ll have a chance to present this topic at a future meeting.  If not, I’ll be left wondering about the mysterious bacon/unicorn/rainbows slide.

FEDSPUG meetings are a good place to start if you’re at all interested in SharePoint development as the crowd is friendly and technically diverse.  Plus, FEDSPUG is not averse to providing pizza or holding giveaways.

The slides from Danny Jessee’s presentation are available online: