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OS X Mountain Lion Server For Dummies by John Rizzo

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The Server App and Profile Manager versus Workgroup Manager

For managing user and group accounts, you can use either the Server app or Workgroup manager. The Server app provides a simple, well-designed interface that hides details that you may not need to bother with, but also has some hidden management features that some people may need.

Workgroup Manager provides access to settings that aren’t available in the Server app. It allows for editing the raw data in the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) database (see Chapter 5). In addition to managing user and group accounts, Workgroup Manager lets you create computer accounts and computer group accounts.

Apple hasn’t upgraded Workgroup Manager for several releases of Mac OS X Server, and the user interface reflects this. It doesn’t use standard Apple interface elements such as the gear-icon pop-up menus, making it difficult to browse around and figure things out. For managing user and group accounts, I recommend using the Server app when possible because it requires fewer actions to accomplish some of the same tasks.

Another aspect to both these tools is managing the configuration of Macs and iOS devices. The Server app lets you turn on Profile Manager, which you then access from a web browser. Workgroup Manager uses a feature called Managed Preferences. Profile Manager is clearly the more powerful tool, and easier to use. You can use Profile Manager to push settings to Mac and iOS devices, and to set restrictions (or ...

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