Microsoft’s Active Directory is a directory service that provides a central, hierarchical store for user information, network resources, services, and so on. The information in this directory service can be extended to also store custom data that is of interest for the enterprise. For example, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Dynamics use Active Directory intensively to store public folders and other items.
Before the release of Active Directory, Exchange Server used its own private store for its objects. It was necessary for a system administrator to configure two user IDs for a single person: a user account in the Windows NT domain to enable a logon and a user in Exchange Directory. This was necessary because of the additional information required by users (such as email addresses, phone numbers, and so on), and the user information for the NT domain was not extensible to add the required information. Now, the system administrator has to configure just a single user for a person in Active Directory; the information for a user object can be extended so that it fits the requirements of Exchange Server. You can also extend this information. For example, you can extend user information in Active Directory with a skills list. Then it would easily be possible to track down a C# developer by searching for the required C# skill.
This chapter shows how you can use the .NET Framework to access and manipulate the data in a directory service using classes ...