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eDirectory Development FAQ


  1. What is Novell eDirectory?
  2. I'm not an NLM developer. Is eDirectory open for use by other kinds of developers?
  3. Why is Novell's directory important to the networking industry and my applications?
  4. How does eDirectory make my applications more valuable?
  5. How does eDirectory make my development time more productive?
  6. Why is using eDirectory better than building your own?
  7. What is the market outlook for eDirectory developers?
  8. What is Novell's strategy for managing Windows NT?
  9. What are the advantages of a native implementation of eDirectory for NT?
  10. I'm a Windows NT developer. Why should I care?
  11. Why should I develop to Novell's directory when I can use LDAP?
  12. How important is LDAP?
  13. How many shipping applications leverage eDirectory?

What is Novell eDirectory?

Now managing more than 51 million desktops worldwide, Novell eDirectory™ is the proven, industry-leading global directory for intranets, LANs, WANs, and the Internet. Accessible using any of today's popular developer tools (Java, ActiveX, C/C++, scripting) and standards-based interfaces, it is the scalable, extensible, partitioned, replicated directory that offers complete freedom to build network intelligence and enterprise value into your hardware or software applications. No matter what services, applications, operating systems or physical network components you plug in, eDirectory provides secure anytime, anywhere access and a single point of administration for NetWare, Windows NT and UNIX servers.

I'm not an NLM developer. Is eDirectory open for use by other kinds of developers?

With the Novell Developer Kit, you can access eDirectory on popular servers any way you choose today. For example, LDAP Services for NDS supports the latest LDAP v.3 specifications. Whether you're working with C/C++, Java, ActiveX controls, JavaBeans components, Oracle databases, scripting interfaces such as JavaScript, NetBasic and Perl, ODBC Drivers or client-based programming tools (Visual Basic, Java Studio, Java Cafe, etc.), eDirectory is readily accessible on NetWare, Windows NT and Sun Solaris platforms. In addition, you can now build kernel-level applications for NetWare using your favorite language and compiler with the new NetWare DLL Loader.

Why is Novell's directory important to the networking industry and my applications?

Industry-wide recognition of the value of directory-enabled applications has just begun. In fact, industry publications such as PC Week are saying: "The networking world will take on a substantially different slant this year, with services becoming the center of attention."* A high-performing, standards-based directory is essential for making this happen. More than any emerging or existing competitive offering, this describes Novell Directory Services.

During the next 12 to 18 months, directory-enabled applications will be making their appearance in corporate networks, greatly increasing the value of directories and opening up a new intelligent networking arena in which Novell and developers to eDirectory and the NetWare platform (as well as Windows NT and UNIX platforms) will prevail.

  • *PC Week, January 5, 1998

How does eDirectory make my applications more valuable?

eDirectory is simple yet powerful. Here's what it does for any network:

  • Gives users a single login
  • Provides a single point of administration for the entire network
  • Cuts the total cost of owning, managing and developing for a network
  • Makes networks more reliable, scalable, and secure 24x7x24 (every hour of every day, anywhere in the world)

Leveraging the range of services in eDirectory adds value to applications because it simplifies access and management of your application's information for network administrators and end-user customers. For example, the eDirectory name service maps network names to addresses using a hierarchical name space rather than a flat name space. This hierarchy allows the database to be mapped as a tree that can be partitioned by its subtrees. Because object names contain the hierarchy information, users can access network resources, such as your application, globally, and administrators can administer the entire tree and its objects from a single point.

How does eDirectory make my development time more productive?

You obtain concrete advantages, such as less hassle and less time spent in the development process. You can pick and choose the eDirectory functionalities you want to leverage, including single sign-on, authentication, administration, management and object repository. By using eDirectory, you can be confident that you're adding tried-and-true directory functionality to your application and use your choice of familiar developer tools without having to design and build access and management services of your own. Lastly, you can design, build, market and support your application while Novell supports (and markets) the directory services end.

eDirectory allows you to integrate your directory-enabled application with every widely used client-based directory access protocol, developer API, and back-end name resolution or directory service in the industry. Because eDirectory successfully addresses the issues that developers face, such as time to market, limited tools, platforms, and protocol integration, the development world is brimming with vast new opportunities for providing a new generation of intelligent, network-aware applications.

Why is using eDirectory better than building your own?

While most applications have a directory to organize information and direct users to resources they need, eDirectory does much more. Global, platform-independent and accessible from virtually any client or standard browser with a single sign-on, eDirectory is the secure, mature directory that links users, applications, services, and platforms of all kinds adding value, security and dimension to your applications while dramatically shortening development cycles and time to market.

Because eDirectory is tightly integrated with all layers of the network, you can focus on selling the benefits of your application or hardware device, and not the access and management of it. You also benefit from a larger potential market for your products since they won't be locked in to a specific platform.

What is the market outlook for eDirectory developers?

With more than five years of proven performance in the most demanding network environments, eDirectory already manages more than 33 million client desktops worldwide. And by providing eDirectory on NT, developers can be assured that a robust, heterogeneous network directory service is available wherever they want to run their applications even on networks that are exclusively NT. Such broad-based support of a common directory is unprecedented and only reinforces the significance of eDirectory as the industry's only global directory capable of providing secure, manageable access to your applications in highly diverse and distributed multivendor networks.

What is Novell's strategy for managing Windows NT?

Our eDirectory for NT design was based on extensive customer feedback. First we delivered end-user and administration functionality with single login and single point of administration for any OS security integrated application. Following versions of eDirectory for NT will build upon the original product to provide application access so third-party developers will be able to take better advantage of eDirectory features and benefits.

What are the advantages of a native implementation of eDirectory for NT?

The main difference between the first couple of releases of eDirectory for NT is that the applications are available so that directory information can now be stored directly on an NT server. With the next release of eDirectory for NT, not only will a Windows NT network know its users, but developers who create applications in this improved environment will be able to make sure the network gives you the freedom that comes from your specific information being available throughout the network.

I'm a Windows NT developer. Why should I care?

If you wait for Microsoft Active Directory, your development track could get seriously behind schedule. With eDirectory for NT, Novell is confident when it comes to whose directory you'll want to leverage in an NT environment. eDirectory for NT means you can put "cool" network functionality (and value) into network applications, deliver them faster and with far less effort now. Since the entire eDirectory security and administration foundation is available to leverage, you can just plug services you need into applications without having to build all those directory pieces. And everything you do today with eDirectory for NT can easily be consumed by Microsoft Active Directory when it finally ships. If you're seeing opportunity, you are right. eDirectory for NT opens the door to next-generation NT development you can do today.

Why should I develop to Novell's directory when I can use LDAP?

You want the best tool for the job, right? eDirectory is market-tested, with over 33 million users and five years on the market. eDirectory supports the latest version of LDAP, and it has proven operability and performance that is not likely to be matched anytime soon.

How important is LDAP?

LDAP is becoming the standard for accessing directory information over the Internet or intranets. Novell is leading the charge for LDAP adoption by providing a scalable, secure, manageable, replicated LDAP directory via eDirectory. The LDAP standard will bring common, platform-independent, APIs to developers. In other words, products leveraging a directory service such as eDirectory will come to market quicker and will be less expensive to develop. LDAP Services for eDirectory allows you to easily publish your organization's information to your intranet and to the Internet, while still maintaining control, through eDirectory, over who can access your information.

How many shipping applications leverage eDirectory?

Currently, there are over 350 vendors shipping directory-enabled applications that leverage eDirectory, making it the logical solution for any company's directory services needs. The future will bring many more as the entire networking industry turns to directory-based applications and solutions in search of the lowest cost of ownership and next-generation manageability.

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