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Higgins. Higgins 1: a species of Tasmanian long-tailed mouse 2: the name of an open source collaboration of IBM, Novell, Oracle, Parity…. Eclipse Higgins Project. Mission:

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1: a species of Tasmanian long-tailed mouse

2: the name of an open source collaboration of IBM, Novell, Oracle, Parity…

eclipse higgins project
Eclipse Higgins Project


  • Higgins is an open source Internet identity framework designed to integrate identity, profile, and social relationship information across multiple sites, applications, and devices.
  • Higgins is not a protocol, it is software infrastructure to support a consistent user experience that works with all popular digital identity protocols, including WS-Trust, OpenID, SAML, XDI, LDAP, and so on

Higgins features are packaged into seven Solutions in three categories

  • Identity Selector Applications
  • Identity Providers
  • Relying Party Enablement
components and solutions
Components and Solutions

Higgins uses the term component to refer to a logical set of Eclipse projects. Components are assembled into entire solutions. Most of these components expose their own API (the exceptions are multiple plugins all supporting the same provider API)

  • Various components have been used by Novell in their “Digital Me” product and Identity Provider product. IBM has announced that they will deliver commercial products based on Higgins components
  • Oracle is considering using the IdAS API for their Identity Governance Framework project at Open Liberty, which is affiliated with the Liberty Alliance Organization
  • Serena has released a commercial solution called Serena Business Mashupsthat uses the Higgins STS
architectural features
Architectural Features
  • The Higgins architecture has evolved very rapidly and over multiple years
  • Whereas we are adding new layers and functional capabilities, the basic architecture has been stable for at least one year
  • There are multiple plug-ins in the java architecture:
    • Data stores are adapted by “context provider” plug-ins
    • New security token types are provided by plug-ins
    • New relying party security languages can be plugged in
    • Persistence of i-card objects is managed by “i-card provider” plug-ins
key standards used
Key Standards Used
  • WS-Security
  • WS-Trust
  • WS-Federation
  • SAML Assertion 1.1 and SAML2 protocol
  • XRI 2.0
  • XML Canonicalization, Digital Signature, and Ecryption
  • LDAP
  • OWL and RDF
  • The Higgins data model and Identity Interchange Framework (X.IDIF) are being proposed for adoption by the ITU-T (The International Telecommunications Union’s Standards Sector)
  • Higgins has attracted and build an activity community with contributions from Parity, IBM, Novell, Google…with additional involvement from Microsoft, CA, Serena, Oracle, etc.
  • Committers - Higgins has 22 committers (three were just approved during the release process)
  • Contributions were also made by other members of the community
multiple digital identities
Multiple digital identities…
  • eCommerce (e.g. Amazon, eBay)
  • Social Networking (e.g. LinkedIn)
  • Book club
  • Family
  • Professional networks
  • Dating networks

Buddy Lists


  • Healthcare System
  • Corporate Directories

Communities of Interest

Enterprise Apps

  • Second Life
  • Croquet
  • WOW

Email or IM

Virtual Spaces


each in its own context silo
…each in its own context (silo)
  • eCommerce (e.g. Amazon, eBay)
  • Social Networking (e.g. LinkedIn)
  • Book club
  • Family
  • Professional networks
  • Dating networks
  • Healthcare System
  • Corporate Directories

Buddy Lists


Communities of Interest

Enterprise Apps

Email or IM

Virtual Spaces

  • Second Life
  • Croquet
  • WOW


introducing i cards
Introducing i-cards

I create (personal)

  • I define a few personas
  • Business “me”, web surfing “me”, dating “me”

Others create (managed)

  • Credit cards
  • Membership, reputation in community
  • 3D avatar (virtual identity)
  • Governments (drivers license)

I co-create with others (relationship)

  • My preferences, interests within community
  • Might include shopping history and wishlists
you use them to
You use them to
  • Sign-in to sites
  • Exchange with friends; stay in sync
  • Increase convenience and privacy (e.g. far fewer passwords)
  • Project my values, interests, preferences to sites
  • Support worthwhile causes
  • Get introductions and offers that I find relevant and compelling

Here’s how it works…

first i need an identity agent i get one from any site that uses i cards
First, I need an identity agentI get one from any site that uses i-cards…
  • I download the Higgins browser add-on
  • Restart my browser
  • The wizard walks me through setting up my web “surfing” persona i-card

…That’s it.

now i can sign in to sites without passwords at each site
Now I can sign in to sitesWithout passwords at each site

i-cards (digital “me”s) are displayed in my browser or mobile device

higgins is an interoperability framework
Higgins is an interoperability framework

Higgins Browser Extension

Eclipse RCP Apps

Identity Providers

Relying Parties

Apps and Services

Higgins Framework


Protocol Providers implement protocols for interacting with Relying Parties




HTML Forms

I-Card Providers implement identity protocols and card types

CardSpace Managed (WS-Trust)

CardSpace Personal

Higgins Relationship

Token Providers implement different kinds of security tokens






IdAS Context Providers connect to different identity data sources


Enterprise Apps


Active Directory

Comms Clients

higgins delivers
Higgins delivers

A consistent user experience based on i-cards

  • Any identity protocol
  • Any token data type
  • Any kind of identity data
  • Any identity data source
  • Any platform