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ADSI (Active Directory Services Interface) - an explanation

ADSI or the Active Directory Services Interface allows a programmer to create applications or scripts that can ease the management of an Windows domain. Although ADSI is not natively supported in NT version 4, ADSI is available in the operating system in Windows 2000.ADSI is a set of COM interfaces that exposes properties and methods that allow a developer to access directory services from various network providers. The provider could be Novell Directory Services, an Exchange Information Store, an Internet Information Server's properties, Lightweight Directory Access Protocol or LDAP, which is used in Windows 2000, or an NT 4 domain -- basically any network service information that is exposed to the operating system. ADSI allows developers and administrators to develop scripts or applications to manage various network services using a common set of commands. This will simplify the development of higher end applications that will greatly reduce the amount of hands on administration that is currently required for an Windows domain.

Using ADSI a developer or administrator can automate certain tasks that would normally be a manual process, for example using an application such as the User Manager for Domains. The User Manager for Domains application allows a domain administrator of a Windows network assign permissions to certain users that are members of the primary domain. An administrator can create account that have access to domain resources, change password, disable accounts, and add users to various groups which have different levels of permissions on a domain. Using ADSI a developer can do such things as create scripts or applications that can automate these tasks or work in conjunction with other applications such as Web applications.

ADSI can be used to access almost any resource available on an Windows domain. A developer can use ADSI to create virtual directories on a Web server. This could be useful in the case of an Internet Service Provider who wishes to automate tasks as setting up a user account and providing the user with a virtual directory to host their Website and then applying the appropriate security permissions to the directories. Using ADSI they could create an application that would perform these tasks in a few simple steps.