LDAP, currently at Version 3, originated at the University of Michigan. LDAP is a specification that defines a standardized way for organizations to store and access directory information over TCP/IP. Information stored in an LDAP directory is arranged in a hierarchical manner as depicted in Figure 15-1.
Figure 15-1. A typical LDAP structure
LDAP makes it possible to create complex directories of information that can be searched quickly and easily. LDAP directories are most commonly (although by no means exclusively) used to maintain “white pages” information such as names, addresses, and telephone numbers, or organizational structures and contact information. Regardless of the information contained in an LDAP directory, the structure defined by LDAP makes it simple to find the information within the directory.
For clarity and consistency, all the examples used in this chapter assume you are using the Netscape Directory Server 6.01 and that you’ve installed the included sample LDAP directory for the fictitious company, example.com. The examples can be modified easily to work with other directory servers such as those from Lotus, Microsoft, and Novell. For more information on installing and configuring Netscape Directory Server, consult the documentation included with the program. Both the server and the documentation are available for download at http://enterprise.netscape.com/products/identsvcs/directory.html ...