Searching for the Best LDAP Browsers
Whatever your budget limit or directory background, there is an LDAP browser for you in part 4 of our five-part series on LDAP searches, we look at the options for everything from casual to complex queries.
Dear LDAP Advisor: Your previous three columns were very enlightening. Now I know LDAP search, search filters, and accessing LDAP searches from practically anywhere. There are so many Microsoft Windows compatible LDAP browsers to choose. Could you give me some tips and tricks on the right one for me in terms of easy of use and features?No, this is not the latest installment of LDAP advice for the lovelorn, just the fourth of our five-part series on LDAP search tools. This time, we will be discussing LDAP browsers and their uses.
LDAP Browser Challenged Reader
Filter City, Iowa
Dear LDAP Advisor: I have been doing the LDAP search thing for a while. I have a crush on that LDAP guru woman. Which LDAP browser should I use to impress her? Is there a search that I can show her that will win me a date?
In Love with an LDAP Guru
Hopeless, New York
Below you'll find a comparison between several free or inexpensive Microsoft Windows LDAP Browsers so that you can locate just the right one for your LDAP searching needs. Since there are so many LDAP browsers available, we have limited the discussion to Windows platform products only. Now, on to the wonderful world of LDAP browsers.
Before we dig in to the discussion of the tools themselves, you need to have a basic understanding of what features you would expect to find in a typical LDAP browser. Nearly all browsers have these features in common:
- Access and bind (authenticate) against one of a specified list of directories
- Some type of anonymous access
- Some degree of bind and search session messages
- The capability to set basic search parameters such as search scope (how far down the directory tree to search), TCP port (default 389), LDAP version (2 or 3), search base (such as o=fizzydizzy.com), etc.)
- The capability to search the directory and display the results
- The capability to export the results to another application (usually in an LDIF format as specified in RFC 2489)
LDAP Browsers Uses
Why do you need an LDAP browser anyway? After all, there are plenty of ways to run LDAP searches via e-mail, Web browsers and command line. What does an LDAP browser offer that you cannot get using the other available tools? The answer is that these alternatives generally have only limited functionality. For example, an e-mail LDAP search might return e-mail and contact information lookups.
Most tools provide limited or non-existent LDAP search filter functionality. Remember if you are using a general-purpose tool like a Web browser, rather than a purpose-built application, you will never have the kind of extended features that you would expect using an LDAP browser.