Microsoft upgrades software to meld apps, directories

By Nancy Dillon, Computerworld |  Development

Microsoft Corp. released Active Directory Service Interfaces (ADSI) Version 2.5
yesterday. This is a set of Component Object Model-based software development objects
designed to simplify the task of integrating applications with directories.

The new version will enable developers to start writing directory-enabled
applications for Windows 2000 right away, said Peter Houston, Microsoft's lead product
manager for Windows 2000.

Houston said developers can check out Windows 2000's directory service -- called
Active Directory -- by installing Beta 3 of the operating system. And with Version 2.5
of ADSI, they can start developing for Windows 95/98/NT without the worry that they'll
have to change their ADSI code once Windows 2000 ships later this year, he said.

Prior versions of Microsoft's ADSI have supported Novell Inc.'s NetWare Directory
Services along with directory services compliant with Version 3 of the Lightweight
Directory Access Protocol, such as Netscape Communications Corp.'s Netscape Directory
Service. But Version 2.5 is the first to provide specific support for Active Directory.

Active Directory-centric features in Version 2.5 include automated binding with
directories, the ability to sort lists that are returned from a query and support for
Kerberos security. Version 2.5 also adds support for OLE DB, which can make an active
directory look like a database.

"Let's say I wanted to write a report of all the managers in a company and their
spending authorities, and that I keep information on my managers in my directory and
what their spending authorities are in a SQL database," Houston said. The OLE DB
support would make it possible to take a list of managers acquired from the Active
Directory and then "join" the list with a database of spending authorities. "This would
have been much harder before," Houston said.

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