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Active Directory Service Interfaces

Active Directory Service Interfaces

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Published by: Josué López Acosta on Jun 14, 2008
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08/19/2012

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Active Directory ServiceInterfaces
Author: Deepak Shenoy
Introduction
PrerequisitesWhat is ADSI?Why should you use ADSI?Where is ADSI used?
ADSI Architecture
OverviewCOM Object Model
Using ADSI in Delphi
BindingAccessing PropertiesSearching- Using ADO- Using IDirectorySearch
SecurityADSI SchemaProvidersConclusion
References
 
(Download the code for this article athttp://www.agnisoft.com/adsi/adsicode.zip)
 
 
Introduction
Microsoft has released
Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI)
for Windows9x, NT and Windows 2000, and now it's inbuilt in Windows 2000. The Windows2000 application specification states that you must use Active Directory when youcan, so now you're thinking: How are
YOUR 
applications going to adapt? Whatchanges do you need to make? How are you going to use Delphi effectively to makethese changes? This is what I intend to address in this presentation.Let me first introduce a
“directory service” 
. A directory service is like atelephone directory: if you have aperson’s name, you can find his/herphone number. A directory servicekeeps track of “resources”, which couldbe anything – a file system is adirectory that keeps track of files andfolders, an email server is a directoryservice that indexes users, user groupsetc. There are many directory servicesalready in place: we already have filesystems and email servers. What’s sodifferent? Traditionally, you’d have touse
different API’s (ApplicationProgramming Interfaces)
to accessdifferent directory services – which : 
Limit you to the vendor’sdirectory service
. For example, if youwrote an application that extractedemail information from Microsoft Mailand used the Mail ApplicationProgrammers Interface (MAPI), youwould find it difficult to move to adifferent vendor.
 Increase development time for your applications
because you needto learn more API’s to get yourapplication working.There is a need to have a
commonmodel
that every directory servicewould support – similar to the ODBCprogramming model that all (or most)database vendors now support. Amodel that will support a
hierarchy
of resources, like folders and files, and besimple to use.
Active Directory
provides this model. To access anActive Directory, you will use
ActiveDirectory Service Interfaces
(ADSI).
 
Where is Active Directory used?
"Active Directory" encapsulates
all
directory services - a list of printers on anetwork, a set of services on an NT server etc. Directory services are very useful inan enterprise where one might know what he wants, may not know what thatresource is named. (like, "give me a list of printers in the 2nd floor").Any directory service can choose to publish itself as an Active Directory, so that acommon querying mechanism can be used. At this point the following productssupport Active Directory:1.Microsoft Exchange Server: Allows queries for email ids, names and anumber of other attributes of people or groups across an enterprise.2.Microsoft Site Server: Stores the list of users as an Active Directory.3.Microsoft Windows NT: This gives you uniform access to users (earlierthrough User Manager for Domains), services (earlier through servicemanager) and network resources (computers, printers etc.)Active Directory also provides bridges to access other similar directory services, likeLDAP, NDS (Novell Directory Services) etc.Active Directory is also an integral part of Windows 2000. In a large organization,Windows NT server has been used as a Primary or Backup Domain Controller, but itwas difficult to integrate many such controllers to be able to provide security andprivileges across the organization. Active Directory makes it simpler by allowing youto structure your organization into units which seamlessly (or so they say) integratewith each other. Which also means lesser problems when you expand, add moreservers, more users etc.To know more about how you can use Active Directory effectively in yourorganization, please visithttp://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/library/technologies/activedirectory/default.asp Here's a list of places ADSI would be best used in:
1.
User/Groups:
Adding/Deleting users , Finding out if a user is a member of agroup.2.Changing a user's password3.Starting and stopping services.4.Getting printer information (jobs in print queue etc.)5.Adding/Deleting web or FTP sites from Microsoft Internet Information server.6.Getting user attributes from Microsoft Exchange Server, like email ids,Addresses, web directories etc.These are just a few applications, and I'm sure there will be more as time goes on.
Prerequisites – What do you need to know?
This presentation assumes readers know COM (
Component Object Model 
) and aworking knowledge of using COM in Delphi.
What is ADSI?
Directory Services and Namespaces
There could be many objects within a namespace (users in an email server, files ina file system) which need to be uniquely identifiable by name. But you might havea user in the email server with the same name as a file in the file system:and they

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