December 20, 1996 5:45 PM ET
Netscape to implement LDAP upgrade in directory
By Lisa Wirthman

  Netscape Communications Corp. is working to deliver extensions to LDAP early next year to enable replication among different directories.

The current Version 2.0 of the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol provides a common way to ask directories for information, so that any LDAP-enabled browser, for example, can access any directory that supports LDAP, said Frank Chen, a senior product manager at Netscape, in Mountain View, Calif.

Directory vendors rallied around LDAP 2.0 in the spring, agreeing to support the protocol as a standard and to integrate it into their products this year.

But while LDAP 2.0 enables directories to have a universal client, it does not enable them to replicate information, so that a change made in one LDAP-enabled directory would be automatically made in another.

Netscape will publish early next year a specification for replication information between LDAP-enabled directories and submit it to the Internet Engineering Task Force, said Chen.

Netscape's 1.0 Directory Server supports replication among Netscape servers, but the company waited to publish the specification until after an IETF meeting to discuss LDAP Version 3.0 this month.

LDAP 3.0 provides better support for international character sets as well as for paged search results and type-down addressing, said Chen. It also specifies a way for directories to store schemata, which are the definitions of how directories work and how they define information.

Other vendors are still deciding whether to support LDAP past Version 2.0, but it may not be a hard decision, said Craig Burton, principal for The Burton Group, in Provo, Utah. "If LDAP becomes better and more usable, [developers] don't really have a choice," Burton said.

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