Vittorio Bertocci

Scatter thoughts

Book Lore

Book Lore

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Flying from Brussels to Reykjavik (hey, I've finally learned to spell it?).

Damn economy seat on the boundary with biz class, the curtain keeps falling in front of the X61 screen. I have tons of things to do, I am behind on a lot of fronts and I know that people will nag me with "if you found time to blog, you can surely do X for me!". I know I know, the only excuse I have is that since the beginning of the month I am literally going from a flight to an auditorium to another flight (at least I didn't change currency for the first 3 countries :-)). I don't feel especially intelligent this night (not that usually I feel particularly gifted, mind you), so I won't hurdle myself in a code sample post (I have few in the buffer) or a "cheap philosopher" one (ditto): instead, I'll do a bit of story telling about our much discussed book.

First of all, this thing is giving us big satisfactions even before being on the shelves. Three random ones, in order of appearance.

  • Few weeks ago Mike spent incredibly kind words about our work. Very few people, if any, have a view on today's identity panorama & players as comprehensive as Mike's: being defined "essential resource" gives a very, very nice feeling. Thank you Mike!
  • Some posts ago I teased about the identity (pun sort of intended) of the author of the book's foreword, but now that the rough cut has been updated it does not make sense to keep being silent on that. Imagine having written a book about relativity, and ending up with Einstein writing your foreword: what more could you ask for?(*). Yes, Kim Cameron himself made us the huge honor of writing the first page of the book text. In few lines he manages to capture the essence of what we tried to achieve, a big result by itself, and his praises for us are something that made me blush from the pleasure & pride. Thank you Kim!
    The foreword is one of the book parts that can be freely accessed online: you find it here.
  • Finally. Just yesterday one of the customers I met in Belgium told me that he bought the access to the book on Rough Cuts: correctness prevents me from reporting his compliments to a wide audience, suffice to say that he made my day. Thank you unnamed customer (you know who you are :-))!

A very encouraging start: however only time will tell if we succeeded in our intent. Ah, by the way: what was that we wanted to obtain again? The reason for which we gave up various weekends & nights is well summarized by the book title: we want to help the reader to understand what CardSpace is about. Just explaining the technology and how to use it does not qualify for the italics: you need to get the entire model for truly using it properly. And for getting the entire model, you need to understand what's wrong with former attempts (or non-attempts) at solving the identity problem. IOHO everybody should be able to participate in the conversation and understand what CardSpace has to offer: and if it means that we have to explain public key cryptography or the HTTP protocol in terms that non technical people can understand, so be it... but I digress.

What I wanted to mention was mainly how we handled this multiple author thing. Trust me, it's not easy: our "voices" are irremediably different. In fact, I am happy to report that we ended up transforming an issue in an advantage. Learning about CardSpace goes through three stages, which all entail different skills and are often biased to specific audiences. Three stages, three authors: you do the math :-)  In practice: first, we decided together about the table of content. Then, we assigned chapters to authors according to experience, talent and personal inclination (not necessarily in that order :-)). You can find an intro to the book structure here.

I (Vittorio) got chapter 1 and 2, in which I lay the foundation for understanding & positioning CardSpace. That ended up being about half of the entire book... verbose, am I not :-)

Caleb got Chapter 3 and 4, in which he explains the technology and shows intended usage in the most canonical scenarios.

Garrett wrote Chapter 5, in which he walks the reader through the details of the implementation of a specific RP scenario; and he wrote chapter 6 & 7, where he presents additional considerations about RPs and IPs.

Great, now you know with whom you have to talk should you encounter something in the book that you want to discuss. Did I do something wise in disclosing those implementation details? Time will tell...


OK, I did start this post on the plane for Iceland; however, I am finishing it 2 days later (I should say two AMAZING days later. Iceland and its people simply defy descriptions). I'm in the hotel's bar while I sip a Viking and outside a chilly wind howls its ancient rage. Tomorrow morning at 4:30am I'll have to jump off the bed, I am coming back to US after 2 weeks in EU. I better close the post and get back to wrestle with the suitcase, the teched bag is an element I didn't plan for while packing.

If during the flight back I'll be in the right mood I'll try to write some more technical post. Stay tuned ;-)




(*) For the Italian reader: "Un Lucano!"

  • As mentioned in a post last November , Kim himself made us the huge honor of writing the foreword of

  • As mentioned in a post last November , Kim himself made us the huge honor of writing the foreword of

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