How to automate Web site authentication that uses Microsoft InfoCard?

Microsoft’s up and coming InfoCard technology seems pretty cool. What is InfoCard? I can’t sum it up better than Microsoft:

“InfoCard” is the code name for a WinFX component that provides the consistent user experience required by the identity metasystem. It is specifically hardened against tampering and spoofing to protect the end user’s digital identities and maintain end-user control.

InfoCard will be supported from the browser which leads me to the question: How am I going to automate InfoCard when my site uses it for authentication?

If you haven’t seen InfoCard work then you probably are wondering what the big deal is. Well, what appears to be the big deal to me is that InfoCard exists in a different “space” than the Window’s desktop. What I mean by “space” is that InfoCard loads and then the desktop along with all Windows applications are grayed out (like when you shut down Windows XP). I’m pretty sure your current browser automation tool is not going to know what to do with this when the browser calls InfoCard for Website authentication (e.g. click a button on the Web page that says something like “Logon using InfoCard”).

I’m sure we’ll find a way to automate this little gem but it may require a little work and re-factoring of your automation tool. I’m kind of concerned with the statement of “It is specifically hardened against tampering and spoofing“. I’m worried that this really means: “Impossible to automate“. You might want to ask your automation tool vendor what their plan is for support of InfoCard.

Ahh, the power of Microsoft BETA software! As a QA Engineer you should not only be test driving, you should also be thinking about compatibility and integration with the software you are currently testing to avoid possible issues in the future.

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