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This page is for documenting flaws in the design of the current LDAP C API and collecting ideas for a new API specification. All LDAP SDK and application developers are invited to contribute comments and ideas.
The initial lists here came from discussions on the OpenLDAP Developers list http://www.openldap.org/lists/openldap-devel/200312/msg00123.html http://www.openldap.org/lists/openldap-devel/200312/msg00187.html
Some of the desired features have subsequently been implemented, but a cleaner interface is still needed.
List of Gripes
The list thus far:
- Needs an explicit library_init/library_destroy and a library_handle. (No static/global state, everything referenced by the library_handle.)
- APIs for operations must have a function parameter for every operation protocol parameter. (E.g., current ldap_search variations all omit DEREF, so you can only specify this via ldap_set_option. Ugly.)
- Functions with long parameter lists are difficult to manage. Perhaps use request structures/parameter blocks, like 2.2 slapd.
- Simplified APIs are still desirable, for apps that don't care about controls/extensions/whatever.
- Requests and results must be bound together. (E.g., ldap_get_option(OPT_ERROR_NUMBER) has no notion of which result's error is being retrieved.)
- char *'s should be avoided, use struct bervals more extensively
- the API is too malloc-happy. result parsing etc. should be done in-place as much as possible.
- "proper" error handling
- Any routine which can "fail" (e.g., most) should return a clear indication of success or the nature of the failure. ("fail" here refers to API failure, not a protocol failure.)
- Protocol errors are not to be treated as API errors.
- no ld_errno, no ld->ld_errno, etc.. (This relates to Howard's #3.)
- API designed for thread-free implementation
- Ability to provide filters in native (LBER) form
- Applications provided extensibility where ever the ASN.1 allows it
- Applications allowed to "register" new error codes, etc..
- ldap_* be a low-level LDAP API (one-to-one mapping of API to protocol). Higher level "directory" API provided above to handle referral chasing and such.
- Need a way to interact with external event loops - let a calling app manage its own events, and invoke LDAP processing on demand
- If possible, make the operations truly async network-wise. This means the ability to plug in external network event libs. This is possible right now, but it might get a more prominent represenation in the API.
Another gripe I noted was that a lot of APIs are poorly named, but that should be an easy one to fix along the way.
Suggestions for New API
What namespaces will we use?