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Programming Windows Identity Foundation (Dev - Pro)

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A few years ago, I was sitting at a table playing a game of poker with a few colleagues from Microsoft who had all been involved at various times in the development of Web Services Enhancements for Microsoft .NET (WSE). Don Box, Mark Fussell, Kirill Gavrylyuk, and I played the hands while showman extraordinaire Doug Purdy engaged us with lively banter and more than a few questions about the product—all of this in front of the cameras at the MSDN studios.

We had each selected a person from the field to play for; someone whom we each thought had made a significant contribution to the success of WSE but hadn’t been a direct member of the product team itself. If we won, then our nominee would get a prize, a token of our appreciation for the work that he or she had done. My selection was a guy called Vittorio Bertocci who was working for Microsoft in Italy at the time. I’d never met Vittorio, nor even seen a photo of him, but he was a prolific poster on our internal discussion list, clearly understood the key security concepts for the product including the WS-* protocols, and had even crafted an extension to enable Reliable Messaging despite some of the crude extensibility we had in place at the time. Vittorio was someone worth playing for but, unfortunately, I didn’t win.
Time passed, the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) superseded WSE, and I moved to become the Architect for the Identity and Access team tasked with building a Security Token Service for Windows Server. One day, out of the blue, I got an e-mail from Vittorio to say that he’d moved to Redmond to take on a Platform Evangelist role and asking if we could meet up. Of course I said yes, but what I couldn’t have anticipated was that mane of jet-black hair....

Vittorio was deeply interested in the work that we were doing to enable a claims-based programming model for .NET, on top of which we planned to build the second version of our security token service. Over time, these ideas became the “Geneva” wave of products and were finally birthed as the Windows Identity Foundation and Active Directory Federation Services 2.0.

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