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Encyclopedia > LDAP

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is a protocol for accessing on-line directory services.


The IETF designed and specified LDAP as a better way to make use of X.500 directories - having found the original Directory Access Protocol (DAP) too complex for simple internet clients to use. LDAP defines a relatively simple protocol for updating and searching directories running over TCP/IP.


The common term "LDAP directory" can mislead. No specific type of directory is an "LDAP directory". One could reasonably use the term to describe any directory accessible using the LDAP protocol and which can identify objects in the directory with X.500 identifiers. Directories such as OpenLDAP and its predecessors from the University of Michigan, though primarily designed as native repositories optimized for access by LDAP rather than as a gateway to X.500 protocols as was provided in ISODE, are nevertheless no more "LDAP directories" than any other directory accessible by the LDAP protocol.


LDAP has gained wide support from vendors such as:

as well as in open source/free software implementations such as OpenLDAP.


An LDAP directory entry consists of a collection of attributes with a name, called a distinguished name (DN), which refers to the entry unambiguously. Each of the entry's attributes has a type and one or more values. The types are typically mnemonic strings, like "cn" for common name, or "mail" for e-mail address. The values depend on the type, and most non-binary values in LDAPv3 use UTF-8 string syntax. For example, a mail attribute might contain the value "user@example.com". A jpegPhoto attribute would contain a photograph in binary JPEG/JFIF format.


LDAP directory entries feature a hierarchical structure that reflects political, geographic, and/or organizational boundaries. In the original X.500 model, entries representing countries appear at the top of the tree; below them come entries representing states or national organizations. Typical LDAP deployments use DNS names for structuring the top levels of the hierarchy. Further below might appear entries representing people, organizational units, printers, documents, or just about anything else.


RFCs

References

This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL.

External links

  • OpenLDAP (http://www.openldap.org)
  • Linux LDAP HOWTO (http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/LDAP-HOWTO/)
  • LDAP Articles, Links, Whitepapers (http://www.bind9.net/ldap/)
  • LDAP Software, Tools & Utilities (http://www.bind9.net/ldap-tools)
  • LDAP (v3) Revision (ldapbis) Working Group (http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/ldapbis-charter.html)
  • What is LDAP? (http://www.gracion.com/server/whatldap.html)
  • Nice Neat Introduction To LDAP with examples  (http://twistedmatrix.com/users/tv/ldap-intro/ldap-intro.html)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (688 words)
LDAP has influenced subsequent Internet protocols, including later versions of X.500, Directory Services Markup Language (DSML), Service Provisioning Markup Language (SPML) and the Service Location Protocol.
Directories such as OpenLDAP and its predecessors from the University of Michigan, though primarily designed as native repositories optimized for access by LDAP rather than as a gateway to X.500 protocols as was provided in ISODE, are nevertheless no more "LDAP directories" than any other directory accessible by the LDAP protocol.
An LDAP directory entry consists of a collection of attributes and is referenced unambiguously with a name, called a distinguished name (DN).
Important Internet Standards: LDAP (1334 words)
LDAP servers take responsibility for "referrals" -- in effect, the 'librarian' saying "What you want is across town." X.500 DSAs return this information to the client, which must then issue a new search request.
LDAP servers return only results (or errors), which lightens their burden and makes a sea of distributed X.500 servers appear as a single logical directory.
But for Microsoft, LDAP is another in the growing list of open standards Netscape is using to gain mindshare and shift the action from the desktop, where Wintel remains unbeatable, to the network.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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