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Implementing LDAP Paperback – March, 1999
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Implementing LDAP provides a lot of information about Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) from the points of view of administrators and developers. The administration and configuration material emphasizes Netscape Directory Server 4, but it pays a fair amount of attention to OpenLDAP. (Microsoft Site Server 3 receives no mention.) In addition to product-specific coverage for administrators, there's quite a bit of general information about what LDAP is and how it works--the kind of information you'll need to decide whether LDAP implementation is worthwhile. Wilcox implemented LDAP at the University of North Texas in 1997, shortly after the protocol became standardized. For that reason, this book has its roots in practical considerations.
Programmers will like this book more than other LDAP volumes because it devotes considerable space to how LDAP fits into various languages. Wilcox explores the LDAP issues in the C LDAP software development kit (SDK) from Netscape, the PerLDAP module for Perl, the Netscape Directory SDK for Java, Microsoft's Active Directory Service Interface (ADSI), and the Java Naming and Directory Interfaces (JNDI). There's also some coverage of lesser-known LDAP development tools, including PHP-LDAP and the Net::LDAP Perl module. --David Wall
From the Publisher
This book is intended for programmers and system administrators who need to build LDAP clients and install LDAP servers. It likely will also appeal to that group of experienced web users who have heard about LDAP but wants a definitive reference on the subject. The book, like LDAP itself, has not been written with any specific programming language or operating system in mind, though it makes extensive use of one of the LDAP-enabled servers currently available - Netscape's Directory Server version 4.0.
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Don't waste your time on this one - read "Ldap: Programming Directory-Enabled Applications With Lightweight Directory Access Protocol".
Or even better, simply install iPlanet LDAP server and read the documentation.
'Implementing LDAP' seems to suffer from lack of editorial review. For ex, page 163, a sentence reads "In an asynchronous operation, you might set an LDAP search running, freeing your computer is to perform other tasks(...)". The sentence needs to be corrected by removing "is". There are numerous examples of this type of mistake. Either Mark, in being the Champion he is, had to stay up way too many nights to write this book, or Wrox press did not bother to review his work. I suspect the later.
Further, the work presents several different explanations on at least one term. For example, about RDNs, it explains "In general, when we talk about an RDN, we usually mean the left most part of a DN". (p 148) Yet earlier in the text, it is stated that "The DN is made up of components, each of which is called a relative distinguished name (RDN)" (p 48). These two definitions are somewhat different. I, the reader, am left to resolve this. (By doing my own editorial review ? )
Yet, on a more positive note, I found this text one of the more readable, and less filled with "fluff" than other texts. One text I had attempted put me so to sleep, and was filled with how "LDAP would solve this and that and marketing people like it, and so did CEO's etc". It was one of those big door stoppers. "Implementing LDAP" does not seem to suffer as much from this. It is a worthwhile read, especially for the discount price I got it from in a NYC discount book shop (which is filled with newer texts).
The above kind of thing is usually the norm in most software literature that is out there, especially by lesser known outfits. (I never have this kind of problem with O'Reilly.) With this in mind, I believe "Implementing LDAP" deserves the rating I gave it. To WROX - proofread it and I'll give it 4 out of 5.
Unfortunately, (and despite the numerous times Mark has answered by questions on Usenet) I must regretfully say that this book is not well written. It is the poster-child of books which are all too hastily marketed, without peer or expert review.
Here are some of my specific gripes.
1. Typos. Alas, after all the spell checkers and such other publishing software tools, when will a book by a computer professional, on a professional computing topic, from a technical publisher rid itself of typos? WROX Press - PLEASE read something by Academic Press, etc. Perhaps you will learn how to form a reputation for excellence.
2. Articulation. I was taught in grade school that not all ways of composing a sentence are equal. The narrative in this book reeks of the writer's haste and downright dismal editorial work (if any was performed).
3. Rigor. May we see precise and exact definitions for terminology? Whatever happened to brevity, closure and correctness?
4. Lastly, simply put, some LDAP protocol and, particularly, JNDI features have been wrongly interpreted by the author. Parts of the JNDI chapter so confused me that I simply returned to the JavaSoft Tutirial and my own initative.
With the author's reputation and good work (elsewhere), this book could have been a great and timely work. Perhaps if you employer pays for it, its not a loss to you. Just glean whatever is of value and return it to the library...
I am indeed very disappointed. While they cover different aspects of the same topic, compare this book to "Understanding and Deploying LDAP Directory Services" by Howe, Smith and Good and you will see what makes a truly great book on LDAP.
I have begun to think of LDAP in different ways now that I can see the implementation with tools besides my primary (Perl).
P.S. I own the Tim Howes book re: LDAP, but it tends to be more theory andless implementation.
Nothing on LDAP_ERROR codes.
This is the worst book on LDAP and a failure for Wrox.