Our beautiful lists site has been live for a few days, and our users are starting to come back to us with feedback. “We love the site”, they say, “but we keep losing our lists. Manually remembering URLs is hard. It’d be great if it could remember what lists we’d started”.
Remember Henry Ford and faster horses. Whenever you hear a user requirement, it’s important to dig a little deeper and think—what is the real requirement here? And how can I make it involve a cool new technology I’ve been wanting to try out?
Clearly the requirement here is that people want to have some kind of user account on the site. So, without further ado, let’s dive into authentication.
Naturally we’re not going to mess about with remembering passwords ourselves—besides being so ’90s, secure storage of user passwords is a security nightmare we’d rather leave to someone else. We’ll use something fun called passwordless auth instead.
(If you insist on storing your own passwords, Django’s default auth module is ready and waiting for you. It’s nice and straightforward, and I’ll leave it to you to discover on your own.)
What authentication system could we use to avoid storing passwords ourselves? Oauth? Openid? “Login with Facebook”? Ugh. For me those all have unacceptable creepy overtones; why should Google or Facebook know what sites you’re logging into and when?
In the first edition I used an experimental project called “Persona”, ...