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Using Perl, Python, or PHP to Access eDirectory via LDAP

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Mike Richichi

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Posted: 22 May 2003

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This AppNote provides an overview of configuring and using Perl, PHP, and Python to access eDirectory 8.7 via LDAP. It shows how to authenticate to LDAP, perform queries, and do meaningful things with the results in both command-line and CGI programs. Although Linux is the reference platform in this AppNote, the concepts are extensible to other UNIX systems, to Cygwin on Win32 systems, and to NetWare AMP (Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl) which will be available with NetWare 6.5.
You may have Web servers running on non-NetWare platforms that require access to the directory for Web-based applications. Also, your environment may include administrators or users who are used to programming with scripting languages on UNIX- or Linux-based systems. The popularity of Novell eDirectory means that many organizations now have a flexible, scalable, replicated, and secure directory service at their disposal, to be used to provide a common information store across the enterprise. eDirectory 8.7's support of LDAP is well-integrated and exposes nearly all eDirectory functionality via the LDAP v3 specification, thus allowing any LDAP-enabled program to utilize eDirectory. This allows unprecedented flexibility in using eDirectory in your environment.
A perfect example is the university where I work. We have multiple servers running eDirectory 8.7, with all faculty, staff, and students having an eDirectory account. As befits the university environment, we have multiple platforms for servers (NetWare, Linux, Solaris, Tru64, OpenVMS, Windows NT/2000) to provide a comprehensive set of network services for all people on campus. eDirectory not only stores objects for all the people on campus, but has objects for every course offered in a term, and students and faculty have assignments to these objects. We provide many services based on that information, some of it through Web-based interfaces. In addition, we are required to create hundreds of new accounts every year by interfacing with a legacy administrative interface that provides flat files for this purpose. We have found that using LDAP-based solutions through common scripting languages is an ideal solution.

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