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Webfinger and SWD

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This is an analysis of the relative values of Webfinger and SWD for OStatus use.


Webfinger is a mechanism for determining links and properties related to an identity.

It uses the Host-Meta protocol to discover a URI template for an XRD document describing the account.


  • OStatus 1.0 and below use Webfinger. Multiple implementations, 10s of thousands of sites.
  • Discovery of multiple links and properties can happen in one request. For example: profile data, activity stream feed, pubsubhubbub hub, and salmon endpoint. This saves several discovery hits.
  • Supports both XML and JSON.


  • JSON version not widely (?) implemented.
  • No formal standards document with IP agreements (?)

Simple Web Discovery