Login Convergence

There are forums, blogs, webmail scripts, an more. What’s wrong with that? They ALL use their own database table to store login information. So if a webmaster runs a website that has a forum and other 3rd party scripts that require users to login, you’ll have to make your users sign-up and login for who knows how many scripts. It’s getting to be ridiculous. As a user, do you want to have to register to post comments, register to use a forum, etc all for ONE website? I didn’t think so, especially in an age where most sign-ups require email activation – which means heading over to your email client again. No, it’s not good. What can be done about it though? I believe that a standard login protocol needs to be developed. A database structure that stores login information that any script on the same server can access. That way your forum, blog, and CMS all work with the same login data. It would be extremely hard to set something like that up on your own. You’d be better off writing your own forum and CMS code rather than using 3rd party scripts. It doesn’t even require much development. All that needs to be done is the following:

  1. Someone needs to find a MySQL database structure that will fit most applications.
  2. This standard needs to gain a following of developers so as to make the standard, well, standard.
  3. Major scripts would need to be rewritten to use the standard.

Simple in theory, but not in practice.

I think a good system would be to have a database with the table userAuth in it. This table would have the columns userID, userName, userPass, userEmail, userActivated, userBanned, and userJoinedDate. If a script needed more information stored it would have another table created and match up the data with the userID (which is not null and auto_increment‘ed). This system should work for most applications.

Originally posted on March 6, 2007 on my old blog.