Find the Right LDAP Browser for Big Search Jobs - Page 3

 By Hallett German
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CodeMerc LDAP Search/LDAP Director
CodeMerc LDAP Search/Director, a combined browser and administrator tool, is a worthy competitor to Softerra. The author of CodeMerc does not want to reveal her/his whereabouts. However, our sources revealed the center of the company's operations appears to be on the island of Crete. Ten-day free evaluations of the current release are available. After that, you can purchase the software for $55.

To start, select the File Menu icon. The Connection Window appears as the default. You can specify the usual directory startup options (search base, port and so on.) plus many advanced features (log file, anonymous login checkbox, interpret display font, display schema, display base distinguished names, checkbox to handle unexpected characters,UTF-8 support for international data and so on). One feature that may be useful is interpret escape sequences. This will allow you to escape characters with a backslash. For example, typing \5c allows you add another backslash to an attribute. Refer to RFC 2254 or the search filter article for further details on how to incorporate escape sequences in search functions.

Click the connect button. User-friendly messages on your session progress appear in the message window and the status bar at the bottom of the screen. If they appear, error messages are generally easy to understand and follow.

Click on the magnifying glass icon to initiate a search. You may re-use your last search. Search parameters are similar to those found in other browsers: Search filter (default equals all objectclasses), search scope, de-reference aliases, and return attributes. Most of these are pull-down selections.

When the search results are returned, they are split across two windows. The left window contains the search records and the right includes the record details. Right-clicking the attribute detail, lists several record manipulation options including viewing as a hexadecimal dump.

This product includes many useful features. These include a Unicode calculator and an Import/Export LDIF that copies to the clipboard. You can save JPEG, or base64 attribute content to a text or binary file, providing a pre-loaded OpenLDAP directory for testing. There are also granular extract options, and a detailed help document with LDAP Search Filter Syntax.

LDAP Search/Director appears to have been written in Visual Basic. Our testing revealed minor issues with windows handling involving resizing, moving, and closing. Once these issues are resolved, this will become one of the top choices for directory administrators and users alike because of the many wonderful features included in the package.

As you can see after delving into the details of two of the more powerful LDAP browsers available and discussed their rich functionality, there is much you can do using LDAP search capabilities to mine your LDAP directory for useful information. For the final article in the series, we will conclude by looking at two more browsers: LDP and Coral Directory and discuss what we would like to see in our ideal browser. Until next time, happy searching

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 that you can use for testing queries.

LDAP Search Overview
www.hawaii.edu/brownbags/ldap/ldap2.pdf — Good presentation on LDAP and LDAP search.

OID (Object Identifiers)
http://www.alvestrand.no/objectid/2.16.840.1.113730.3.4.html — Sun/Iplanet LDAP server controls as an example. http://www.alvestrand.no/objectid/ — Tutorial on OID http://www.alvestrand.no/objectid/top.html — Top of OID hierarchary for searches

LDAP Browsers
http://www.softerra.com/products/products.php Softerra LDAP Administrator & Browser

http://www.codemerc.com/ CodeMerc LDAP Search/Director

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 20, 2004
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