upcoming open source software
Jon Roberts <jon@...
2004-12-25 06:56:33 GMT
Greetings fellow tinkerers and enthusiasts,
It is over five years now since I wrote my first LDAP client
applications. I managed an infrastructure that employed web servers and
a directory from Netscape back when that company still existed. We used
LDAP people and groups for central authentication in web access control
and authoring, and so I wrote routines in Perl and then Java to do four
distinct things: create a person entry, create a group entry, fetch the
data for a person, fetch the data for a group. These little apps were
simple and straightforward, but the code was procedural and plainly
I later began to work more exclusively with directories, and as the
number of object classes I used grew, I decided it would be better to
consolidate the information about a class of entry in one place, and
write single routines for handling tasks like adding, deleting,
modifying, retrieving, etc. entries of all types. That work led to my
first attempt at an open source offering, some Java servlets and
packages built on the Netscape Java LDAP SDK which I called LDAPHttp.
The results had the gist of what I wanted, even if it had some missing
functions and major kludges that exposed my own Java development
What followed was a painful and patently unsuccessful initiation into
the world of public open source software collaboration. With an immature
offering, a perversely incompatible attitude, and several major gaps in
my experience with open source, I knew even as I progressed that I only
had myself to blame for what was a failure in all appearances. However,
I learned a great deal in this process and the irony seems to be that I
got exactly what I needed.
In the new year soon to arrive, I plan to try and make good. There are
many preparations I will need to make before I can say anything about a
real project, but it is my intention to introduce the new ideas here
first in the hopes of making a connection. I'll start with some Java API
documentation for what I've got:
Note that the rest of the site is irrelevant to this initiative, and is
being renovated behind the scenes.
The new packages are built on the Novell JLDAP Java libraries supported
in part by the OpenLDAP project. The package called "l3d" can be used to
create clients, while the "sg8" package extends these basic capabilities
into a customizable servlet gateway. Error messages, object/attribute
labels, and context information (e.g. server, port, connection type,
..etc) are now in properties files so that they can be changed without
Java compiling and easily internationalized. The servlet gateway uses
encryption, a single sign-on model, and customizable JSP for all web
page generation. Plenty more going on, but I'll leave it at that for now.
I plan to spend the first half of 2005 documenting and demonstrating
this new code and preparing it for consumption. I don't want to make it
a project until it's ready to be one, although I'll gladly take feedback
from anybody anyhow anytime. I'll plan to use CVS and Ant this time
around, like a real OSS Java developer should. If it looks like the
software will be useful to another living person (besides myself and the
good people who've employed me to develop it), I intend to release the
l3d portion under the LGPL (or looser license) to promote
commercialization while keeping the sg8 part under the GPL to serve as
an example extension.
I have no ulterior motives. I'm not driven to make money, I'm not
looking for any ego boosting, and I have no illusions about changing the
world. I just want to do something useful. Please let me know if you
have an interest. Otherwise, I apologize for the novella.
Peace on earth, good will towards man.
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