if it’s true that a picture is worth 10^3 words…
Without the carrot/stick of the book I would have never spent the cycles to put together a visual representation of it, but now that it’s done I am glad I did it. It’s so much simpler to think about how the flow goes, just by looking at the picture… but then again, that’s how I roll :-) Thanks Peter & Brent!
This is really not that explanatory. Is there some magic to reading the diagram?
No magic: however this is a representation of internal details of the product, you need to be a WCF expert and be familiar with the classes there to parse the picture. If you know the WCF object model and the WIF object model, the diagram helps you to understand how the latter snaps to the former.
Please note. You can use WIF with WCF and do even very advanced things without ever having to know anything about that diagram, the WIF object model abstracts things away so that you don't have to worry about the details. Those details are important mainly if, before WIF came out, you used the WCF extensibility model at very advanced level: knowing how WIF leverages that helps you to avoid introducing conflicts with WIF.
Chapter 5 of "Programming Windows Identity Foundation" goes in the fine details of this.