Backplane Protocol Allows Social Widgets to Work Together

As a website owner, implementing social tools like sharing and commenting can be a pain. These JavaScript widgets each operate in their own space, without a common standard to follow, or guidelines for security and interoperability. From an end-user perspective each of these tools can require a separate login, before allowing me to interact or personalizing options for me--and even though multiple tools can be on the same page, they know nothing about each other, let alone share information with each other, creating very separate and siloed experiences.

Real-time web Platform provider Echo and user management provider Janrain have partnered to try and deliver a new solution to this problem, called Backplane Protocol 2.0--a proposed open standard that enables authorized, independent applications coexisting on a website to easily and securely communicate with each other. The Backplane Protocol serves as a “message bus” for social applications, enabling applications developed by disparate vendors to communicate with each other in real-time, solving the key interoperability problem between 3rd party web applications like real-time commenting, social login and game mechanics, allowing sites to provide web visitors with a modern, social User Experience.

“Backplane is very important to the healthy growth of the independent, open social web,” said Khris Loux, founder and CEO of Echo, the original author of Backplane Protocol. “In this age of real-time interaction, marketers and web developers are looking to avoid data silos and interoperability issues. Backplane Protocol enables website owners to ensure hot swapability of third party applications. This allows companies to rapidly evolve their websites using the applications of their choice, providing the best experience possible for their users.”

Backplane Protocol is built leveraging technologies such as OpenID, OAuth, and Portable Contacts, and as a proposed open standard, it reduces the need for companies and independent developers to learn and develop against other vendors’ proprietary APIs. For ease of Integration, Backplane Protocol can be quickly added to any page, application, or login system using a little bit of JavaScript, reducing time to market and costs in website publisher deployments.

Echo and Janrain have taken on a huge problem here, and I can't help but think of other similar, yet failed iniatives in this area. But by using existing open protocols, and making Backplane Protocol open as well--and with the right vendor support, the Backplane Protocol might just provide an interoperable message bus that vendors and site owners can get behind. You can find more information on Backplane Protocol at

Be sure to read the next Widgets article: 54 Widgets APIs: Google, Facebook and Netvibes