February 17, 2009 6:19 PM
OpenID is a free and easy way to login to multiple websites without having to remember a username and password for each site. A hard thing to get right with OpenID is the user experience. Since the concept is new, many users don't know how to deal with it. The right experience is critical to successfully being able to handle OpenID login on your site and this Flex component attempts to solve that problem similar to the way openid-selector does it for HTML.
Personally, I think OpenID rocks and is solving a very important problem on the internet. But consider this: sandbox violation had at least 10 people enter their email address instead of the OpenID URL on the very first day. Some people tried their email, some tried entering "ok", some even tried entering "helpme". Now, the main reason for this was that I had a very simple login dialog. It just said "Sign In / Join" and "OpenID URL". As you can imagine, sandbox violation lost plenty of registrations that way.
I recently cooked up a Flex component so that the OpenID experience on any Flex site can be better than what I had to initially cope with. Kudos must be given to andyjm who built openid-selector for this Flex component is based on that work.
As usual, the disclaimer applies that I am no usability or UI expert, but I do believe this component makes life easier1 for flex developers handling OpenID login.
Features of the component:
- Allows you to type in an OpenID URL.
- Also, shows a combobox with a pre-populated list of OpenID providers (both logo and name).
- For most of the providers, a username text input appears where any changes are plugged back into the OpenID URL correctly.
- Simple help button (graphic stolen from employee directory sample AIR app) to get more information about OpenID.
- Minimal styling so that you can apply your own.
You can see a styled version of this component in action at sandbox violation.
Click on the image above to see a demo of the component.
You can download the source of the component here. It is under the MPL 1.1 license. Instructions on how to use the component is present in OpenIDLogin.mxml.
 Statistically proven with the amount of successful logins in the case of sandbox violation.