Developer / Web Site Owners
Friend Connect, Open Id and OAuth
These three technologies are not that straightforward to implement. However, they represent widely used standards which means there is ample documentation to be found on the internet.
Friend Connect was created by Google and enables site owners to turn their web site into a small social network. This is done by adding 'gadgets'. The principal gadget is the members gadget where users can use their details from other social network sites (including Netlog of course) to become a member of the site, after which they can use that 'social identity' to post messages, fill in forms, etc...
OpenID is an open standard that allows people to log in on different sites using their earlier created 'social identity' (indeed Friend Connect relies partly on OpenID). This is typically used by web sites to make it easier for their users to, for example, react to blog posts without having to go through a sign-up process first.
As Netlog was one of the first social networks to offer OpenID functionality, users can use their Netlog profile to log on to any OpenID-enabled website.
- OpenID foundation website.
- The WordPress OpenID plugin.
- OpenID Enabled, featuring among others a PHP and a Python OpenID library.
OAuth + openSocial
OAuth is an open protocol for secure authentication: after a user gives explicit permission to an external site, this website can use that user's social network data (indeed, again, OAuth is used in Friend Connect). The canonical example would be an external photo album web site that imports a user's pictures uploaded to his social network, i.e. Netlog.
OpenSocial is the (open source) API used to request this social data from Netlog, after OAuth was used to authenticate with the user's permission.
In practice this means that you can use a combination of 3-legged OAuth and opensocial to create a 'log in with Netlog' button on your website. The user can then give your website authorisation to use his Netlog data. Once you have this authorisation you can get the user's info from Netlog, or use his photos, or post logs about the user to his friends etc ...