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Net::LDAP::FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions about Net::LDAP


 perldoc Net::LDAP::FAQ


This document serves to answer the most frequently asked questions on both the perl-ldap Mailing List and personally to me.


What is perl-ldap ?

perl-ldap is the distribution name. The perl-ldap distribution contains the Net::LDAP modules.

Why another perl LDAP implementation ?

perl-ldap's goal is to be as portable as possible. It does this by being implemented completely in perl. So basically anywhere that perl runs perl-ldap will run. This is not true for other implementations which require a C compiler.

Where can I get it ?

perl-ldap is available from CPAN. You will find it in the authors/id/GBARR directory. Alternatively you can download the latest version from

Is there a mailing list ?

Yes there is at <>

You can subscribe to this list at

Is the mailing list archived ?

Archives of messages since we switched to using sourceforge can be found at

There is also an archive of the perl-ldap mailing list at which also has messages from before the move to sourceforge.

Is there any online documentation ?

Yes. perl-ldap has a web page at which will have the latest documentation available.

Is there a public CVS repository ?

No, not right now. But there may be in the future.


How do I install perl-ldap ?

To install the modules that are in the perl-ldap distribution follow the same steps that you would for most other distributions found on CPAN, that is

   # replace 0.13 with the version you have

   gunzip perl-ldap-0.13.tar.gz
   tar xvf perl-ldap-0.13.tar       
   cd perl-ldap-0.13
   perl Makefile.PL
   make test
   make install

But I do not have make, how can I install perl-ldap ?

Well as luck would have it the modules in perl-ldap do not do anything complex, so a simple copy is enough to install. First run

  perl -V

This will output information about the version of perl you have installed. Near the bottom you will find something like


This is a list of directories that perl searches when it is looking for a module. The directory you need is the site_perl directory, but without the syatem architecture name, in this case it is /usr/local/perl/perl5.005/lib/site_perl/5.005. The files required can then be installed with

   # replace 0.13 with the version you have

   gunzip perl-ldap-0.13.tar.gz
   tar xvf perl-ldap-0.13.tar       
   cd perl-ldap-0.13/lib

   cp * /usr/local/perl/perl5.005/lib/site_perl/5.005

What other modules will I need ?

perl-ldap does use other modules. Some are required, but some are optional (ie required to use certain features)


This module is required for perl-ldap to work.

You can obtain the latest release from


This module is optional. It also requires a C compiler when installing. You only need to install Digest::MD5 if you want to use the SASL authentication method.

You can obtain the latest release from


This module is optional. You only need to install URI::ldap if you are going to need to parse ldap referrals. Net::LDAP does not do this automatically yet, so this module is not used by perl-ldap.

You can obtain the latest release from

Using Net::LDAP

How do I connect to my server ?

The connection to the server is created when you create a new Net::LDAP object, e.g.

  $ldap = Net::LDAP->new($server);

Net::LDAP->new sometimes returns undef, why ?

The constructor will return undef if there was a problem connecting to the specified server. Any error message will be available in $@

How can I tell when the server returns an error, bind() always returns true ?

Most methods in Net::LDAP return a Net::LDAP::Message object, or a sub-class of that. This object will hold the results from the server, including and result code.

So, for example, to determine the result of the bind operation.

  $mesg = $ldap->bind( $dn, password => $passwd);
  if ( $mesg->code ) {
    # Handle error codes here

I did a search on my directory using the 'search' method. Where did the results go ?

Your search results are stored in a 'search object' container. Consider the following:

 use Net::LDAP;

 $ldap = Net::LDAP->new('') or die "$@";
 $mesg = $ldap->search(
                       base   => "",
                       filter => "uid=jsmith",

$mesg is a search object container. It is a reference blessed into the Net::LDAP::Search package. By calling methods on this object you can obtain information about the result and also the individual entries.

The first thing to check is if the search was successful. This is done with with the method $mesg-code>. This method will return the status code that the server returned. A success will yield a zero value, but there are other values, some of which could also be considered a success. See Net::LDAP::Constant

  use Net::LDAP::Util qw(ldap_error_text);

  die ldap_error_text($mesg->code)
    if $mesg->code;

There are two ways in which you can access the entries. You can access then with an index or you can treat the container like a stack and shift each entry in turn. For example

  # as an array

  my $max = $mesg->count;  # How many entries were returned from the search

  for( my $index = 0 ; $index < $max ; $index++) {
    my $entry = $mesg->entry($index);
    # ...

  # or as a stack
  while( my $entry = $mesg->shift_entry) {
    # ...

In each case $entry is an entry object container. It is a reference blessed into the Net::LDAP::Entry package. By calling methods on this object you can obtain information about the entry.

For example, to obtain the DN for the entry

  $dn = $entry->dn;

To obtain the attributes that a given entry has

  @attrs = $entry->attributes;

And to get the list of values for a given attribute

  $values = $entry->get( 'sn' );

Notice that the assignment is to a scalar. This is because get will return a reference to a list, even if there is only one value for that attribute, and undef if the attribute does not exist. One thing to remember is that attribute names are case insensitive, so 'sn', 'Sn', 'sN' and 'SN' are all the same.

So, if you want to print all the values for the attribute 'ou' then this is as simple as

  if( my $values = $entry->get( 'ou' )) {
    foreach (@$values) {
      print $_,"\n";

Now if you just want to print all the values for all the attributes you can do

  foreach my $attr ($entry->attributes) {
    foreach my $value ($entry->get($attr)) {
      print $attr, ": ", $value, "\n";


Graham Barr <>

Please report any bugs, or post any suggestions, to the perl-ldap mailing list <>.


Copyright (c) 1999-2000 Graham Barr. All rights reserved. This document is distributed, and may be redistributed, under the same terms as Perl itself.

$Id: FAQ.pod,v 1.2 2000/05/09 16:09:49 gbarr Exp $

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