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Daniel Doubrovkine

aka dB., CTO at artsy.net, fun at playplay.io, NYC

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In a previous post I’ve described an initial implementation of OpenDS as a naming and directory service, including extending the directory schema and reading and writing directory objects with JNDI. As actual (read: competent) Java developers took over my prototype, they switched from JNDI to spring-ldap. The resulting code is much more pleasant, and I got to learn a bit more about Spring.

Service Object

Let’s get something useful in and out of the directory: a Service object. Naturally it doesn’t matter where it came from, so the Service class is a simple container.

public class Service {
    String _name;
    String _serviceUri;

    public Service(String name, String uri) {
        _name = name;
        _serviceUri = uri;

    public String toString() {
        return _name + " @ " + _serviceUri;

    public String getName() {
        return _name;

    public void setName(String name) {
        _name = name;

    public String getServiceUri() {
        return _serviceUri;

    public void setServiceUri(String uri) {
        _serviceUri = uri;

You’ll immediately notice that in contrast with the previous implementation, this object knows nothing about being stored in a directory. I was lazy then, but this time Spring helps (forces) me to write better code.

Service DAO

At the core of spring-ldap lies LdapTemplate that executes core LDAP functionality and encapsulates all the plumbing. We’re going to implement a simple DAO for our Service objects that can, for example, retrieve all services.

public class ServiceDAO {
    private LdapTemplate _ldapTemplate;

    public void setLdapTemplate(LdapTemplate ldapTemplate) {
        _ldapTemplate = ldapTemplate;

    public List<Service> getAllServices() {
        return (List<Service>) _ldapTemplate.search("", "(objectclass=Service)",
                new ServiceAttributesMapper());

Notice a few important things here. First, we have not specified how to connect to the LDAP server - that will appear in the runtime configuration. Secondly, we use ServiceAttributesMapper, a class that knows how to map LDAP attributes into a Service object, achieving a very nice separation of concerns.

public class ServiceAttributesMapper implements AttributesMapper {
    public Object mapFromAttributes(Attributes attrs) throws NamingException {
        return new Service(

Spring Configuration

To make it all work we need some configuration. We can define a springldap.xml configuration file for our tests, another one for production, etc.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"
    xsi:schemaLocation="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans/spring-beans-2.0.xsd">
    <bean id="contextSource"
        <property name="url" value="ldap://localhost:389" />
        <property name="base" value="dc=example,dc=com" />
        <property name="userDn" value="cn=Directory Manager" />
        <property name="password" value="password" />
    <bean id="ldapTemplate" class="org.springframework.ldap.core.LdapTemplate">
        <constructor-arg ref="contextSource" />
    <bean id="ldapService" class="com.example.springldap.ServiceDAO">
        <property name="ldapTemplate" ref="ldapTemplate" />

What does this do?

  1. Defines the values for the LdapContextSource. In our case, a url to our OpenDS installation, a base path to the objects, a user and password to access the directory.
  2. Defines how to construct an LdapTemplate that encapsulates LDAP core functionality. It takes the context source defined above.
  3. Tells Spring to set the LdapTemplate property of the ServiceDAO with the value above.

We could have done this all in code, but Spring helps us create another level of abstraction and enables a complete configuration-based runtime experience.

Getting Services

We still need to tell Spring to use this configuration at runtime before we can call DAO methods such as getAllServices.

Resource resource = new ClassPathResource("/springldap.xml");
BeanFactory factory = new XmlBeanFactory(resource);
ServiceDAO ldapService = (ServiceDAO) factory.getBean("ldapService");
List<Service> serviceList = ldapService.getAllServices();

This is nice! With Spring, we have achieved complete separation of responsibilities and pluggable configuration and, all things considered, wrote a lot less code.

More DAO

Create or Update a Service

public void createOrUpdateService(Service s) {
    Attributes attrs = new BasicAttributes(true);  // Case ignore
    Attribute oc = new BasicAttribute("objectclass");
    attrs.put("objectclass", "Service");
    attrs.put("name", s.getName());
    attrs.put("serviceUri", s.getServiceUri());
    DistinguishedName newServiceDN = new DistinguishedName();
    newServiceDN.add("cn", s.getName());
    _ldapTemplate.rebind(newServiceDN, null, attrs);

Delete a Service

public void deleteService(Service s) {
    DistinguishedName serviceDN = new DistinguishedName();
    serviceDN.add("cn", s.getName());

Get a Service by Name

public Service getServiceByName(String name) throws NameNotFoundException {
    return (Service) _ldapTemplate.lookup("cn=" + name,
            new ServiceAttributesMapper());

Running the Code

You can run the source code from this article with OpenDS and Eclipse.

  1. Check out the source code from here.
  2. Install OpenDS from http://www.opends.org.
  3. Copy schema\Services.ldif into OpenDS\config\schema\100-Services.ldif and restart OpenDS.
  4. Import the JndiDemo project into Eclipse and run JUnit tests in the src-test package.