4 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2012 6:16 AM by Kantala

    Manage Active Directory from within FM


      <off>Firstly, I can't get to grips with the new TechTalk, is it possible to view discussions in 'threads' on the website?</off>


      A client is planning to deploy a solution using Ericom Web Connect, a terminal services / XenApp equivalent. We want to instigate a 'single sign-on' approach whereby the user logs in once (to a PHP page that will pass the credentials to the Ericom login page) and is then automatically logged in to the FM database. An Active Directory will be set up that will store the user credentials for authentication purposes.


      However, we will also need the ability to create / delete / manage users in the Active Directory, controlled by Filemaker scripts. I've read somewhere that it is possible to do this with PHP, but does anyone have real world experience?


      Thanks in advance



        • 1. Re: Manage Active Directory from within FM

          Kantala wrote:


          <off>Firstly, I can't get to grips with the new TechTalk, is it possible to view discussions in 'threads' on the website?</off>


          It does take some getting used-to, but once you understand just what's going on, you may end up liking it. Rather than just appending each new reply to the very end of the thread, this software inserts new replies in context to the exact post that's being replied to. So I clicked Reply on your post (1), and this one follows it directly(2). Now if someone replies to my reply, it will be inserted after my reply (2a), but indented slightly to indicate that it's a reply to my post not yours. Then, if someone replies to your original post again, it will be inserted at the end (3). And if yet another person comes along and replies to my post again, the reply will be inserted after the previous reply to my post, but before the last reply to your post (2b). It's confusing when trying to explain, but if you view it in outline form it may make more sense:


          1 - your original post

          2 - my reply to your post

          2a - a reply to my reply

          2b - another reply to my reply (may occur after #3 below)

          3 - another reply to your original post


          So in essence, it's threads within threads, but it does maintain context with more fidelity than traditional threading. But if you ultimately find that you can't get used to "contextual threading" and prefer "traditional threading" instead, you can go to My Profile > Edit Preferences, and then choose Flat for Discussion View Style. You can make the same change for Comment View Style as well. If you choose "flat style," then in addition to the timestamp, it also numbers each post for you. HTH.




          • 2. Re: Manage Active Directory from within FM

            Hi Dave


            Thanks for taking the time to reply to this 'off' question.  I think I've figured it out now, and I should have explained myself a bit more clearly....  What I couldn't understand was that when I went to a specific discussion folder (e.g 'General') I could only see the recent posts, which aren't threaded at all, but couldn't see a way to get to a listing of posts with the number of replies etc.  I then found that if I clicked on one recent post I could use the 'Up to Discussions in General' link to get there (still don't know how to get there directly though). 


            I do prefer the 'contextual replies' on the web, hadn't noticed these before as I review discussions via email.


            Many thanks for the clarification.



            • 3. Re: Manage Active Directory from within FM

              NP Matt. Glad you've got it figured out. Regarding your other question: I haven't heard of any PHP libraries that let one manage AD from within FMP. If such a beast exists, it would be possible to use it from within FMP using the SmartPill plug-in. I hope you'll post back with more details if you figure out a way to do it. It would probably be a very useful technique for a lot of people.




              • 4. Re: Manage Active Directory from within FM

                Thought I'd post an update on this...


                We finally got it working by using PHP and LDAPS to communicate with the Active Directory.  It's a little complicated, but we now have an end to end solution that works as follows:


                • user logs in via a PHP page displayed in a web browser
                • user is authenticated against the AD
                • if accepted, their credentials are passed to the Ericom Web Connect software which downloads and launches a 'virtual' FileMaker Pro application, pre-configured to connect to one specific database file on FM Server
                • the user is logged in directly to the database without having to enter their credentials again
                • from within the database users can change their own password.  Admin users can create other accounts on the AD, modify user names, enable / disable accounts, reset passwords and delete accounts


                I can't claim any credit for the above(!), as it was all down to the hard work of the incredibly talented Steve Winter.  He might be persuaded to give more details, but from an FM point of view we are simply using the BaseElements plugin to do http post requests that pass the relevant parameters to php scripts that Steve has set up.  These php scripts then do the 'heavy lifting' with active directory. It's in the final testing stages at the moment, and there were a few 'gotchas' along the way, but it's looking promising.