Three LDAP Browsers for the Asking - Page 3

 By Hallett German
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Continued From Page 2

Our Ideal Directory Browser
Having looked at all of the major LDAP browsers, we thought we would share our first thoughts about the features we'd like to see in our ideal LDAP directory browser:

  • Flexible searches with both pull-down menus and a blank line for user created searches.
  • A debugger for LDAP import/export, search, and administration operations.
  • Interactive search tutorial, rich with examples for all types of users from novice to advanced.
  • APIs for those who wish to customize their browser (such as adding their own viewer), or provide access through a program.
  • More product documentation, including bulletin boards for search and product questions and a product FAQ (frequently asked questions).
  • Schema/operation attributes viewer/editor.
  • Ability to save and reuse searches.
  • Ability to download and update a specified list of public LDAP directory servers access configurations.
  • Easy to enable/disable anonymous user access.
  • Ability to enable/disable specific directory server support.
  • Easy-to-understand session and error messages. A list of messages and what to do about them in the product help rather than referring the user to hard to understand and frequently obscure RFCs.
  • Multiple language support.
  • Ability to inform a user of the search progress and a method of informing a user that a given search will likely take some time.
  • Support of many imports/exports formats.
  • Plug-in support for e-mail, schedulers, workflows, web browsers, etc
  • Rich logging and reporting capabilities

None of the current offerings that were reviewed for this article were close to having even a fraction of the featured listed above. This list is just a starting point for a dialogue about the features that are important to include in a powerful LDAP search tool. We plan to continue enhancing this list. We welcome your thoughts on this as well.

After six articles and looking at many multiple browsers and LDAP search tools, hopefully you now have enough information to get you started using LDAP Search and browser applications. Even though LDAP search can be a powerful and useful tool for accessing distributed directory information, there is still much work to be done to perfect the available tools. We will continue to review products as they become available in this rapidly evolving area, and write down our thoughts on what to look for in an LDAP browser.. Some of these likely will be found here as well as under the tutorial section of ldapguru.net. Keep watching these spaces!

With the rise in E-business, the need for better network identity and single sign-on will continue to grow. These tools will become increasingly important in helping to shape how companies do business in the twenty-first century. For now, happy LDAP searching! May all your LDAP searches be as rewarding as you desire them to be.

Additional Resources


LDAP Public Directories
Microsoft Active Directory Admin Tool (Knowledge Base Articles)
Coral Directory
  • LDAP Guru Links A great place for LDAP training tutorials. Our latest LDAP Browser activities will be found here.

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 to help your company identify the right IT infrastructure to meet your business objectives.

Hallett German is launching Alessea Consulting -- focusing on network identity, electronic directories/IT, and business development 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, IT and business challenges.

This article was originally published on Jun 1, 2004
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