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Creating and Using an Account Services Provider

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Modified on Fri, 19 Nov 2010 04:39 PM Categorized as Administration, Configuration, How-to, Security
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Overview

Out of the box, &dw; lets you authenticate your users in two ways:

  • against its local database of user and group accounts
  • using an Active Directory server to provide user and group information.

While this is enough for many networks, being able to authenticate against a custom or legacy provider makes it much easier to integrate &dw; with your existing systems and networks.

Note: Authentication is handled by external add-ons, but authorization is handled internally by &dw; to enforce licensing restrictions.

You can use the normal Administration interface in &dw; to manipulate users and groups provided by authentication add-ons. The add-on itself is entirely transparent to the application.

Requirements


Types of user

Four types of users supported by the system:

  • Local user (credentials managed by Dashboard)
  • Windows user (credentials managed by Active Directory)
  • Windows group (credentials managed by Active Directory)
  • “Virtual” user (created on the fly)

“Virtual” users

The Virtual user accounts are special because they're automatically created by &dw; when a user who belongs to a Windows group logs in for the first time. This lets you assign access rights to Dashboards and other objects.

Tip: These accounts are not visible in the account management interface, and they cannot be assigned a “named” license.

Creating and deploying an authentication provider

&dw; Authentication Providers are add-ons like IIS Membership Providers. To create one:

  1. Implement the IAccountServicesProvider class, defined in the Dundas.Dashboard.Extensibility.Server.dll assembly.
  2. Add an accountServicesProviderFilename key to the Dundas.Dashboard.config file with the full path to your IAccountServicesProvider implementation's assembly as the value. The assembly does not need to be stored in any specific Dundas Dashboard path. For example:

    -->
  3. Perform an iisreset.
  4. Restart &dw;.

Required IAccountServicesProvider methods

You must always implement these methods:


Optional IAccountServicesProvider methods

These methods are optional:


Sample

Attached to this page are two samples authentication providers. The first is an archive containing MyExternalAuthenticator.cs, a simple authentication provider that uses an external data file to store user account information. This implements all of the required and optional methods to demonstrate their use.

The second sample is the LdapAuthentication project. This is a more complex project designed to connect to an LDAP server in order to authenticate accounts in a specific domain. The project was designed with the Active Directory Application Management server in mind, but can be adapted to work with other server types that may have different input requirements. The application expects a file called DundasDashboardLdap.config to be in the C:\DundasDashboardLdap\ folder so that it can get the information it requires to query the server. This includes the username and password of an account which has permission to query the server, the server address and the distinguished name of the section the users are stored in. An example of this file with its syntax is included in the archive.

Note that, unlike the first example, this sample does not implement every optional method. It deals strictly with creating local accounts based on the server and not Windows accounts, and it does not allow details on the LDAP server to be modified in Dundas Dashboard. This is meant to mimic an environment where the accounts would be used for more than just Dundas Dashboard, so users (even Dashboard Administrators) wouldn't be assumed to have this control.

Related topics


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Note: The sample projects are built using &dw; 2.0.3. If you are using a different version, make sure to change the references to the &dw; assemblies in the projects.

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