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From Pierre-Arnaud Marcelot ...@marcelot.net>
Subject Re: Search result in LDAP API
Date Thu, 28 Apr 2011 12:20:44 GMT

On 28 avr. 2011, at 13:39, Kiran Ayyagari wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 4:38 PM, Emmanuel Lecharny <elecharny@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi guys,
>> 
>> yesterday, as I started to write the doc about the Search Operation, I faced
>> some issue. Let me explain.
>> 
>> When you do a simple search, you get back a cursor :
>> 
>>        SearchCursor cursor = connection.search( "ou=system",
>> "(objectclass=*)", SearchScope.ONELEVEL );
>> 
>> The SearchCursor extends Cursor<Response>.
>> 
>> That means you get some Response when you do a search, so you have to write
>> such code to get back the entries :
>> 
>>        while ( cursor.next() )
>>        {
>>            Entry entry = ((SearchResultEntry)(cursor.get())).getEntry();
>> 
>> which is just horrible.

I completely agree.
We are creating this API to make the user's life easier and not embarrass him with such constructions.
I'm pretty sure 90% of the users of the API won't know there are multiple types of responses
to search.
Most of them only expect entries.

On the other hand, LDAP experts know everything about the spec and the API should also ease
their work and allow them to access everything.

>> The reason is that the search can return three kinds of responses :
>> - normal entries
>> - search result done
>> - and referrals
>> 
> there is one more, the IntermediateResponse
> 
>> We can deal with the searchResultDone (and we do, you can call a
>> cursor.getSearchResultDone() when you quit the loop), but the referral
>> handling is a bit more special.
>> 
>> We have many options to clean up the API here :
>> - first, we can consider that a cursor.get() will always return an entry (or
>> a SearchResultEntry). In this case, if the next result is a referral, we
>> have two cases. The first one, if the users have asked the API to chase
>> referrals, he will get back an entry, and we are fine. The other case is
>> when we don't chase referrals, and then we can just throw a
>> ReferralException, up to the client to catch this exception
> IMHO a cursor, should never assume about the type of elements it is
> serving beyond a certain level of abstraction
> (sadly in LDAP, as we know, the result set contains different types
> of objects for the same operation,
> But we have already made some changes in this way, like getting the
> SearchResultDone)
>> - second, we can expect the user to check the result type before grabbing
>> it. If it's a SearchResultEntry, then do a cursor.getEntry(), otherwise do a
>> cursor.getReferral().
> this is exactly the way we wanted it to work, not just for referrals
> but any sort of search response,
> i.e the cursor returns the ResponseS (the super type) and it is upto
> the user to deal based on the specific subtype
> infact the above shown code snippet casts directly to a
> SearchResultEntry cause we know first hand that this search
> (perhaps done in a test case) will *only* return search entries and
> nothing else.
> 
>> - third, we can cumulate all the referrals and ask the user to look on the
>> cursor a second time to deal with referral. We would have to store those
>> referrals internally to the cursor, and add a nextReferral() method.
>> 
> IMO, this should be avoided by all means, cause in the worst case it
> will lead to a OOM
> 
>> I personally find the first solution the least painful for our users. In any
>> case, we have to do two things :
>> - change the current API
>> - implement the Referral chasing in the API
>> 
>> So, now, wdyt ?
> my preference would be to keep the get() method as it is and add new
> method(s) like getEntry() , getReferral()
> and user can call the respective method based on his requirement, and
> these method can throw
> an exception when the expected type is not compatible
> e.x NotAnEntryException when getEntry() is called but the current
> result is a referral

This would be my preference as well (with another method to access the IntermediateResponse
too).

But I would add other convenient methods like:
- boolean nextEntry();
- boolean nextReferral();
- boolean nextIntermediate();
- boolean previousEntry();
- boolean previousReferral();
- boolean previousIntermediate();
This methods would allow the user to jump to the next/previous object of their choice easily.

For example, this snippet would allow the user to get all entries from a search cursor in
a much nicer way than today:
> while ( cursor.nextEntry() )
> {
> 	Entry entry = cursor.getEntry();
> }

Other methods to know what is the type of the current object in the cursor would also be useful
like:
- boolean isCurrentEntry();
- boolean isCurrentReferral();
- boolean isCurrentIntermediate();

Lastly, I'm wondering if the getXXX() methods should return an Entry/Referral or the associated
SearchResult instead (SearchResultEntry/SearchResultReference).
Thoughts?

Regards,
Pierre-Arnaud
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