TIER Community Contributor Spotlight: Gabor Eszes
(Left) Gabor Eszes, Old Dominion University
Gabor Eszes, middleware applications developer at Old Dominion University (ODU), developed an interest in technical standards at an early age when he and his family were living in Hungary. The first English-language document he read was the HTML 4.01 specification. When he joined the ODU middleware team in 2012, one of his first efforts was to separate Old Dominion’s eight-year-old custom identity management system into leaner services, which was completed within a year. “We champion an API-first strategy for integration,” says Gabor, “which requires well-defined schemas and protocols to enable interoperation—goals consistent with those of TIER.”
This outlook has informed Gabor’s work on the TIER Data Schemas and APIs Working Group, where he advocates to adopt current best practices from across the industry, reduce ambiguity through a rich data model, and enable the group’s work to be a base for future standardization. “A good API has to balance ease of use with elegance of design,” he says. “We have a duty to craft APIs that will be used for their merits, and not because of a mandate.”
Gabor believes the APIs and schemas developed by the TIER Data Schemas and APIs Working Group will be the most recognizable deliverable of TIER from the perspective of an outsider to the higher education community, and will be a key determiner of success in promoting its initiatives. For his participation in the Entity Registry Working Group, Gabor brings extensive experience in having designed and implemented two identity management systems, leveraging his background in drafting policy to advocate for the harmonization of definitions and practices—including business processes—between institutions.
With his participation in the TIER Packaging Working Group, Gabor aims to ensure that TIER's software delivery is useful for a wide range of campuses, from those who are looking for turn-key solutions, to those who have large amounts of custom-made software, and those who only seek to deploy parts of TIER. “This is of particular importance to us,” Gabor states, “as TIER can bring about the next wave of schools to adopt identity and access management (IAM) best practices, while other schools, like Old Dominion, are looking at adopting TIER incrementally.”
Gabor’s work is influenced by his belief that the higher education community is a thought leader in the industry. He sees TIER as a unique opportunity for the community to come together and advance the state-of-the-art. “TIER brings together the best minds in academia, research and IT,” Gabor says. “The work that we produce—whether it's guidance, software, schemas or documentation—will define the landscape of identity and access management in higher education for the foreseeable future. By joining forces, we can represent the interests of higher education to vendors in industry and standards-setting organizations, and ensure that our innovations are useful for the wider IAM community.”