SAML community gets its own online home

The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) consortium has established an interactive Web site to be the official resource for the Security Assertion Markup Language, an Extensible Markup Language standard for exchanging authentication and authorization data among security domains.

The Web site ( is one of a family of Web sites that support developers and users of XML open standards. Other sites are devoted to BPEL (Business Process Execution Language), DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture), ebXML (e-business XML), IDtrust, Open Document and UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration). The XMIL site provides a platform for sharing information with vendors and other standards bodies and will be largely based on user-generated content.

'SAML is a natural addition to the family of focus areas because SAML is so wide deployed and foundational to so many other specifications,' said Carol Geyer, communications director for the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.

In the federal government, the General Services Administration's E-Authentication Identity Federation initiative is a hub for facilitating interactions among organizations through SAML. SAML was first developed by OASIS and later adopted by the Liberty Alliance as the backbone for its efforts to offer tools for federated network identity.

The E-Authentication program, established in 2002, was using SAML 1.0 as the protocol for user authentication when it first went live in 2005. In September the program adopted SAML 2.0, and the GSA announced it was turning interoperability testing over to the Liberty Alliance Project.

'SAML is recognized as the gold standard for federated identity,' said Eve Maler, director of technology in business alliances for Sun Microsystems. Sun has taken an active role developing specifications for SAML.

The new site includes a wiki knowledgebase, as well as sections for posting news and information on events, products and services; white papers; case studies and other resources.

The OASIS web site had served as the official source of information on SAML since work on the specification began in January 2001. The majority of that information was in static Web pages and documents produced by the OASIS Security Service Technical Committee and in publicly archived mailing lists.

'As wiki technology matured, OASIS began looking for a way to create more of a dynamic community watering hole for people who use, develop or just track specific standards,' Geyer said.

The site encourages content contributions from readers, who may:
  • Add or edit wiki knowledgebase pages on topics related to using and
    understanding SAML.
  • Post news such as press releases, announcements, or links to recommended
    news articles on SAML.
  • Add an event notice for upcoming conferences, webinars, meetings, or
    training sessions.
  • List their company's SAML product or service.
  • Share their experiences using a specific SAML product or service provider.
  • Blog about their experiences or opinions.
  • Ask questions, discuss issues, or post job opening in a forum.

All sites are built on the Drupal open source content management platform.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.


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