Integrating With Higgins
This page explains how developers can Mashup with a server running the Higgins i-card broker web app.
The Higgins Trust Framework (1) is an open source software framework that developers can use to create user-centric applications that allow people to manage and share their own identity and profile information across multiple different systems.
Two ways to Mashup with Higgins were demonstrated at the Identity Mashup held at Harvard in June and will be explained here. Both provide bi-directional synchronization of profile data between the Higgins i-card broker (we are planning on renaming this part of Higgins. If you have any good suggestions...) and other websites like the one(s) you are building.
To get things going for MashupCamp, we created a MashupCamp i-card (complete with MashupCamp logo) and schema that are now live. See picture here. (2)
Higgins Benefits to Developers
- Provides a unified interface for user profile data across all components of your mashup thereby elimininating redundancy and inconsistency
- Makes it easier for users to supply needed data to drive your various applications
- Enables your system to support user-centric data policies
Higgins Benefits to Users
- Automates the process of keeping multiple systems updated with your latest information
- Reduces repetitive entry by automatically supplying your standard information
- Supports privacy and anonyminity - you control what information you provide to whom
- Allows you to automatically keep a copy of information you enter on a mashup site
- Enables you to manage your own data.
Higgins can be particularly useful when creating a mashup as Higgins can be the repository for user information that is needed by the different systems that are being mashed-up. (So users don't need to keep entering basic information over and over again. And yes, single signon support is also in the Higgins' future. This support will make it easier for users to visit sites and make it easier for developers to support multiple authenticiation methods.)
There are two parts of Higgins that are visible to the user: A Firefox browser extension (Higgins Browser Extension) called HBX and a website (i-card broker) that allows users to update and manage their various i-cards.
- Install the Higgins Browser extension. The latest version, 0.5.0, of Higgins requires a Firefox plug-in called the Higgins Browser Extention (HBX), which you can get at (3) Once you have the current version of HBX installed, just click on the Mouse icon (Higgins is also a long-tailed Tasmanian mouse) and you will go to the the Higgins i-card broker website where you can enter information about yourself in a "Personal" icard that can then be shared with various mashup systems.
- We created a MashupCamp i-card, you can make the MashupCamp i-card appear by visiting our test site at (4) and clicking on the Mashup Camp button (this is how we test our side.) Once the card has appeared, you can add your information to it. When your site is Higgins enabled, then when a person visits your site for the first time, they will get a MashupCamp i-card.
- If you would like Higgins to know about your site and for your site to be Higgins enabled, there are some things that we need to do in Higgins and some things that you need to do on your website.
- Let us know the URL for your website - should be a site where the user needs to enter some information.
- Determine the schema of the fields that will be shared - we have already created a Mashup Camp schema - which you can see in number 2 above. Hopefully it is sufficient for some basic testing. If you have an application you need us to integrate with, you need to tell us the schema (in a future release this will be able to do this more dynamically.)
- We add a button for testing the schema on our test site as in number 2 above.
- Depending on which type of interaction you want to support on your end, you need to implement one of the integration options below on your site. (The first integration option requires very little effort, the second integration option requires more work but provides a higher level of integration.)
- You let us know which you are doing and the URL's of the specific pages you are Higgins enabling (see integration options for more details.) Again the sooner you provide us the information about the specific pages you are going to Higgins enable, the faster we can do the work on our end. (Note: we can't test our stuff on our end until you do your stuff on your end, but we can start working as soon as you give us the URL's and schemas for the pages.)
First integration option - provides bi-directional profile data synchronization via
- HBX Form Fill: (5) If your site conforms to the specs at this link, HBX will automatically form fill information your site needs using information a user has supplied in their i-card broker profile.
- HBX Screen Scrape: (6) If your web page view (or "review" or whatever you call it) has the informtion that HBX needs, then it will automatically screen scrape information the user enters on that page and save it in one of the user's Higgins i-card broker profiles.
Second integration option - HBX RSS-P (7) The preferred way is for the relying site to implement RSS-P ("P" for "profile") support. RSS-P supports programmatic bi-directional RSS feeds (using RSS SSE) between your system and the Higgins i-card broker. This means implementing an RSS 2.0 with SSE extensions parser. So far we've only tested the relying site reading the feed from the broker, but we're interested in having it tested in the other direction as well if anyone would like to work with us on this. Sample RSS-P feeds are available at (8). We have updated the detailed documentation about how to use HBX RSS-P and will continue to evolve it.
If this page and its links leave you with un answered questions or you have suggestions for improving Higgins - email mary at socialphysics.org or paul at socialphysics.org. Bugs and enhancement can also be sent to the Higgins Bugzilla at (9).