Archive for the ‘Novell’ Category

Query a Novell LDAP server with VB.Net

Once again, I am amazed at how simple tasks have become using .Net. Something I thought would be complex turns out to be completely handled by the framework. Kudos to the .Net team.

For my current project, I need to validate that a person is an internal employee before allowing them continued acccess to the web site. My company uses a Novell infrastructure, and luckily has an LDAP server that I can access for employee validation.

Luckily, Novell provides a resource for developers to begin working with LDAP at the Novell Developer Labs. You can create an account and query their server for free. So that is where I started, but eventually the Novell network admins in my company got around to my request and I was able to use the code almost without modification against our internal server.

Here is my quick console application I created to test against the Novell Developer Lab LDAP site (my container name is Fender and my login is admin.  The only modifications I had to do to get it to work with my company’s LDAP server was to learn the container names and the fields I could query.  

Imports System.DirectoryServices

Sub Main()
Dim
ds As New DirectorySearcher
Dim resultset As SearchResultCollection
Dim result As SearchResult
‘Return the securityEquals field and the cn field
Dim ResultFields() As String = {“securityEquals”, “cn”}

With ds
    ‘Set the container I want to search (.admin.Fender.user.novell)
    .SearchRoot = New DirectoryEntry(
LDAP://192.108.102.215/ou=Fender,ou=user,o=novell)
    ‘Use the array set above for return fields
    .PropertiesToLoad.AddRange(ResultFields)
   
‘Set a filter/query
    .Filter = “cn=ad*”
End With

Try
  
‘Perform the search

   
resultset = ds.FindAll()
    If resultset.Count > 0
Then
       
For Each result In resultset
            Console.WriteLine(result.Properties(“securityEquals”)(0))
       
Next
    Else
        ‘No results
       
Console.WriteLine(“No Data Found”)
    End If

Catch ex As Exception
   Console.WriteLine(“Error: “)
   Console.WriteLine(ex.Message)
End Try

End Sub

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Migrating our ASP app to .Net

We are migrating an ASP app to ASP.Net, but not all at one time as my business customers within the company won’t pay for that kind of time all at once. So we are migrating piece-by-piece as we develop new functions within the app. Our plan is to develop all new pages using .Net, and convert classic ASP pages as we have to touch them due to new development. To get the remaining pages converted, we are just going to squeeze them in as often as possible along with the new development, mostly on a one or two at a time basis. So probably of the next 6-12 months the ASP and ASP.Net applications will coexist and appear to the users to be one application.

Right now, we have done what we considered the basic conversion necessary to implement our plan:

  • Convert the login process to .Net. We are using Forms authentication since users are checked from our own database. We may migrate this to LDAP sometime in the future. My company uses Novell Netware for network login and GroupWise for email. I would love to hear from anyone who has a web app that can create appointments in GroupWise!!
  • Move frequently used Session variables to cookies. Luckily, we were not using lots of Session variables in the classic ASP. We encrypt all the data written to the cookies so spoofing is harder. We are currently not a web farm, but that is also in our future so the Session variables need to go anyway.
  • Create a common time-out scheme between the applications using a cookie. The ASP app times out after 35 minutes of inactivity for what the HR folks call “security“, as the app contains lots of personal information about both employees and non-employees.
  • Convert common functions to .Net (like checking user roles, encryption, database access, search engine, etc.)
  • Convert ASP includes for page structure into .ascx files.

Of course, none of this has gone into production yet (sigh…). It is on the test sever and hopefully will roll out by the end of the month.

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