Searching for the Best LDAP Browsers - Page 3

 By Hallett German
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LDAP Explorer Tool
LDAP Explorer tool is a noncommercial open source package available for download. Version 0.6 is still in beta. It includes explicit support for OpenLDAP, Novell eDirectory, and Sun OneDirectory Server, but it will work with any LDAP-compliant server. Once you have configured the "Connect To" button and clicked OK, you can access and optionally bind to the LDAP server. Use the account name of anonymous with no password to initiate an anonymous session. Right-click on the desired level on the directory to search (such as ou=People,o=cameraobscura.com).

“In the final article of this series, we will review advanced features available in the most powerful LDAP browsers, which can further fine tune your searches to exactly what you desire.”
By selecting the search option, the search box appears. Enter your LDAP search request and press OK. Note that you need to understand proper LDAP search syntax for it to work. After your results are returned, click on the desired record on the left side of the screen and the full record is displayed in the right. LDAP Explorer Tool also has the ability to perform LDAP administration on objects, records and binaries.

LDAP Explorer is written for the casual user who is familiar with LDAP syntax. This looks like a promising tool, and we look forward to seeing what future releases may offer.

LDAP Browser/Editor
LDAP Browser/Editor (or as a colleague of Hallett's calls it — "the little browser") is a noncommercial Java-based product available for download. It was created by Jarek (Jaroslaw)Gawor while he was a student. Jarek's effort was awarded best student application in the Novell Developer's Contest a few years ago. The current release is 2.82b2 and runs on either Windows or Unix. Jarek seems to be busy with other computing endeavors, so it is unclear if this browser will ever be updated beyond the current release.

Double-click on the lbe batch/shell file to start the Browser. This file may have to be modified to support your Java configuration. After a series of progress messages, the session list appears. Click "Edit" to add your local directory settings including results sorting. After this step is completed, click the "Connect" button on the bottom right of the browser. The Directory tree then appears in the left half of the window. To do a search, use the following approaches: Right-click on the appropriate level of the directory and select "Search".

Alternatively, select the third icon from the top left, which looks like a green planet with binoculars, or select "Search" under the "View" Menu. This highly configurable browser allows the user to specify the default search base, search filter (searches on all objectclasses by default), attributes (returns all by default), and search scope (one level). After you have made your selection, the matching records are returned. Right click and select "view entry" to see more details. You may export your results by selecting the "export" Button in the search window. This browser also allows you to view/edit sounds, GIF and JPEG Images, and digital certificates. It can also show operational attributes as well. A log will display any LDAP error messages encountered during your search.

LDAP Browser/Editor is a very popular tool in the LDAP community, probably because of the powerful feature set and configurability. However, like the LDAP Explorer Tool, you do need to know LDAP search syntax to use it, so it is unlikely to appeal to the casual user.

Keep on Browsing
As you can see, whatever your budget or directory background, there is a directory browser available that is just right for you. Some of them are highly customizable for people comfortable with LDAP syntax, while others are useful for the casual user who just wants to do some more complex searches than what is available in the their e-mail application.

In the final article of this series, we will review advanced features available in the most powerful LDAP browsers, which can further fine tune your searches to exactly what you desire.

Additional Resources
RFCs http://perl-ldap.sourceforge.net/rfc.html - One location (of many) to find LDAP LDAP Public Directories http://www.emailman.com/ldap/public.html - List of public directories for testing queries

www.hawaii.edu/brownbags/ldap/ldap2.pdf - Good presentation on LDAP and LDAP search

LDAP Browsers
http://ldaptool.sourceforge.net/ - LDAP Explorer Information and Download Site
http://www.maxware.com/Products/MDE/Directory-Explorer-index.html - Maxware Directory Explorer and pointer to 3.0 download.
http://www.iit.edu/~gawojar/ldap/ - LDAP Browser/Editor "the Little Browser"
http://www.cygsoft.com/products/other/ldap.html -- Cgysoft's LDAP Browser
http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/LDAP-HOWTO/graphicaltools.html - Some Linux LDAP Browsers
http://www3.baylor.edu/~Carl_Bell/files/LDapper2.0.3.dmg - Simple LDAP Browser for Macintosh called LDapper

Beth Cohen is president of Luth Computer Specialists Inc., a consulting practice specializing in IT infrastructure for smaller companies. She has been in the trenches supporting company IT infrastructure for over 20 years in different industries including manufacturing, architecture, construction, engineering, software, telecommunications, and research. She is available for consulting, teaching college IT courses, and writing a book about IT for the small enterprise.

Hallett German is launching Alessea Consulting — focusing on network identity, electronic directories/messaging consulting. He has 20 years experience in a variety of IT positions and in implementing stable infrastructures. Hal is the founder of the Northeast SAS Users Group and former President of the REXX Language Association. He is the author of three books on scripting languages. He would welcome the opportunity to solve your network identity, directory, and messaging, challenges.

This article was originally published on Apr 1, 2004
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