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1. Overview

EUDC, the Emacs Unified Directory Client, provides a common user interface to access directory servers using different directory protocols.

Currently supported back-ends are:

The main features of the EUDC interface are:

1.1 LDAP  What is LDAP ?
1.2 CCSO PH/QI  What is CCSO, PH, QI ?
1.3 BBDB  What is BBDB ?

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1.1 LDAP

LDAP, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol, is a communication protocol for directory applications defined in RFC 1777.

Quoted from RFC 1777:

[LDAP] is designed to provide access to the X.500 Directory while not incurring the resource requirements of the Directory Access Protocol (DAP). This protocol is specifically targeted at simple management applications and browser applications that provide simple read/write interactive access to the X.500 Directory, and is intended to be a complement to the DAP itself.

LDAP servers usually store (but are not limited to) information about people such as their name, phone number, email address, office location, etc.... More information about LDAP can be found at http://www.openldap.org/

EUDC requires external support to access LDAP directory servers (see section 2.1 LDAP Requirements)

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The Central Computing Services Office (CCSO) of the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) created and freely distributes a directory system that is currently in use in more than 300 organizations around the world. The system records information about people such as their address, phone number, email, academic information or any other details it was configured to.

The system consists of two parts: a database server traditionally called `qi' and a command-line client called `ph'. ftp://uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu/pub/packages/ph is the main distribution site. http://www.uiuc.edu/cgi-bin/ph/lookup?Query=. provides a listing of the active `qi' servers.

The original command-line `ph' client that comes with the `ph/qi' distribution provides additional features like the possibility to communicate with the server in login-mode which makes it possible to change records in the database. This is not implemented in EUDC.

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1.3 BBDB

BBDB is the Big Brother's Insiduous Database, a package for Emacs originally written by Jamie Zawinski which provides rolodex-like database functionality featuring tight integration with the Emacs mail and news readers.

It is often used as an enhanced email address book.

EUDC considers BBDB as a directory server backend just like LDAP or PH/QI servers though BBDB has no client/server protocol and thus always resides locally on your machine. The point in this is not to offer an alternate way to query your BBDB database (BBDB itself provides much more flexible ways to do that) but rather to offer an interface to your local directory that is consistent with the interface to external directories (LDAP, PH/QI). This is particularly interesting when performing queries on multiple servers.

EUDC also offers a means to insert results from directory queries into your own local BBDB (see section 3.7 Creating BBDB Records)

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