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At the Professional Developers Conference last November, we announced the availability of Windows Identity Foundation (WIF), a new extension to the .NET Framework that makes it easier for developers to create more secure applications with interoperable, identity-based access.  The software and documentation are available here.  You can watch various video discussions about WIF on Channel 9 here.

The new identity developer training kit and channel9 training course contain a new hands-on lab, Federated Authentication in a Windows Azure Web Role Application, which provides step-by-step guides for hosting in Windows Azure (WAZ) a Web application accepting identities from an external identity provider, leaving you free to focus on the business function of your application. You can also go here for a standalone version of the lab.

WIF is ideal for both on-premises and cloud apps, and is a key element of how Microsoft is addressing customer needs around cloud security. Extending single sign-on from on-premises infrastructure to cloud applications is an important customer need, to simplify user login and ensure productivity. WIF provides developers with a standard approach to building identity-based access into on-premises and cloud applications using the claims-based architecture.  It boosts developer productivity through a single, simplified identity model within familiar tools, such as .NET and Visual Studio. 

WIF also enhances application security because it provides consistent, proven means for single sign on, federation, strong authentication and identity delegation.  With WIF developers don’t have to continually re-build authentication logic, and applications can call each other securely. And, because WIF allows developers to externalize identity logic from applications, re-coding is less likely to be required as identity needs change.

WIF is based on industry standard protocols for interoperability across heterogeneous cloud and enterprise environments.

If you’d like an overview of the Windows Identity Foundation, please watch Vittorio Bertocci‘s WIF introductory talk at PDC.  If you are interested in going deeper in the topic, take a look at the recording of the excellent talk Microsoft Architect Hervey Wilson gave on this subject at PDC09.

What do you think about WIF and Windows Azure?  Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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