Following more than a year of work, Mozilla has announced the availability of a first beta of its Persona identity system. According to Mozilla Senior Software Engineer Dan Callahan, Persona is now compatible with all major smartphone, tablet and desktop browsers.
Formerly known as BrowserID, the login system was first introduced in July 2011 as an alternative to the OpenID initiative and has been in use within Mozilla since the end of 2011. Persona is a decentralised and secure authentication system based on the BrowserID protocol. The system is designed to eliminate the requirement to create site-specific accounts and passwords by allowing users to use one or more verified email addresses as their identity, and requiring only a single password to access that identity. It is also designed to be easy to integrate into an existing site’s login process.
Logging in with Mozilla’s Persona “The user experience has been thoroughly reviewed and polished,” said Callahan, adding that, “we’re committed to the core APIs, and its infrastructure is highly available and stable.” Changes and improvements in recent months include a brand new API, improvements to the sign-up process for first time users, and support for sites’ visual identities and site-specific Terms of Service and Privacy Policies in the login dialog. Callahan goes on to note that the latest version will be the “first of many beta releases”, though further details as to when Mozilla expects Personas to formally launch are not provided.
Persona is already being used on several sites including The Times Crossword, OpenPhoto and cycling site Voost; the Eclipse Foundation is also reportedly building the system into the 1.0 release of its Orion web-based IDE. Developers interested in integrating Mozilla Persona can find additional information on the Persona documentation page on the Mozilla Developer Network site.