Use Apache Geronimo and Ajax to build a directory, Part 1 ...

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Jul 4, 2012 (5 years and 1 month ago)

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Use Apache Geronimo and Ajax to build a
directory,Part 1:Configuring Geronimo's LDAP
server
Skill Level:Intermediate
Matthew Jording (kingrabbit@gmail.com)
Freelance writer
Sensis Corporation
23 May 2006
Proficiency in working with Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) is an
important skill for developers creating enterprise applications for Apache Geronimo
and IBM® WebSphere® application servers.In this two-part tutorial series,learn how
to use the LDAP Tools for Eclipse to configure Geronimo's built-in Apache Directory
LDAP server,ApacheDS.In this first installment,you'll import hypothetical personal
information into the LDAP server while gearing up for Part 2,where you'll query the
LDAP server and update the Web page using Ajax.
Section 1.Before you start
This two-part tutorial series is for you if you're a developer interested in leveraging
the power LDAP can provide your enterprise application development.This series
shows you how to configure Apache Geronimo's built-in LDAP server using the
LDAP Tools for Eclipse and how to build an Ajax application to verify and test its
capabilities.
About this series
LDAP,an IBM-supported standard,is a common method for e-mail clients to look up
e-mail addresses from fragments of a name,or for networked servers to obtain login
credentials.Basically an LDAP client can query an LDAP server to obtain any
information about users therein.The LDAP Tools for Eclipse can help you get your
LDAP server off to the right start.Geronimo implements LDAP through the Apache
Directory project,in the LDAP subproject,and is an excellent LDAP implementation
for your Java™2 Platform,Enterprise Edition (J2EE) projects.
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This installment of the series,Part 1,covers configuring Geronimo's built-in Apache
Directory LDAP server using the LDAP Tools for Eclipse.Here you'll import
hypothetical personal information into the LDAP server while gearing up for Part 2 of
the series,where you'll query the LDAP server and update the Web page using Ajax.
In Part 2,you'll also create the J2EE application that logs into the e-mail client using
programmatic authentication and authorization by verifying a username and
password against the LDAP server.An e-mail can then be submitted to users listed
in the LDAP server by entering a first or last name or a phone number.Geronimo's
LDAP server is then queried via JavaScript,and a list of suggestions for
auto-completion is displayed.
About this tutorial
Apache Geronimo,the newest J2EE application server offering from Apache,is
taking important steps in redefining how J2EE services are implemented.One of the
most important parts of the Geronimo architecture is its modular,lightweight
framework implementation.This modular design allows best-of-breed enterprise
components to quickly and easily integrate into the overall server.
Over the course of the past decade,directory services have become essential
computing needs of the enterprise.There have been several protocols,
specifications,and varied approaches tackling the problem of discovery and
registration of information.Whether storing authentication information,service
information,or business contact lists,directories have become central to the way
enterprise applications operate.
One of the most popular solutions to the directory quandary is LDAP,an
IBM-supported standard,which is a network protocol for querying and updating
directory services over standard TCP/IP network connections.Developers creating
enterprise applications for Apache Geronimo and IBM WebSphere application
servers will find proficiency in working with LDAP to be an important part of their skill
set.If you're interested in leveraging the power LDAP can provide your enterprise
application development,then this tutorial series is for you.Use this tutorial to learn
how to configure Geronimo's built-in LDAP server using LDAP Tools for Eclipse,and
build an Ajax application to verify and test its capabilities.
In this tutorial,you'll get familiar with Geronimo and its built-in Apache Directory
LDAP server,ApacheDS.You'll install and configure both for LDAP application
development.You'll also get to know the LDAP Tools for Eclipse,an Eclipse plug-in
that allows you to view and manage the LDAP directory.This tutorial walks you
through importing hypothetical personal information into the LDAP server,as well as
viewing a populated directory and its entries,without leaving your Integrated
Development Environment (IDE).
Prerequisite knowledge
This series assumes you have some expertise as a Java enterprise Web developer
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and some comfort with system administration tasks,such as setting environment
variables and server installation.Familiarity with the Eclipse IDE is also helpful.
System requirements
Download the following tools to follow along with this tutorial:
• Java Platform Standard Edition (Java SE) 5.0 Java Development Kit,
Version 5
• Eclipse IDE
• LDAP Tools for Eclipse
• Apache Geronimo
Section 2.Introducing LDAP
Before we dive in and start installing the LDAP Tools for Eclipse plug-in,it's
important to first take a step back and look at what LDAP is and how it can benefit
you and your enterprise solution.
Directory service benefits
LDAP has been around in one form or another since the early 1990s as an
alternative to the Directory Access Protocol access to X.500 directory services (see
Resources for a link to more X.500 directory services information).Taking from
some of the other access protocols,such as DIXIE and Directory Assistance
Service,LDAP took a bold step by adapting the Internet standard of TCP/IP.This
paid off in part because the Internet succeeded far more than anyone at the time
predicted.LDAP survived the competition and is currently at version 3 with many
marked improvements from its humble beginnings.
Directory services have been a part of networks in one way or another for a long
time.LDAP directories have been growing roots in networks for as long as people
have found the need to have central directories of data.With increasing support from
vendors,such as IBM,Red Hat,Apache,and others,LDAP has already become a
staple for many networks.LDAP is also firmly rooted in the enterprise computing
market.With integration into Java Enterprise and Microsoft®.NET servers,most
developers have stumbled upon references to LDAP in their research.
Why all the fuss over LDAP?LDAP survives and is a vital part of all of these
environments because it's versatile,easy to configure,and implements simple
configuration methods that vary minimally from implementation to implementation.
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With a standard LDAP server,you can have a contact list that IBM Lotus®,Novell
Evolution,and Microsoft Outlook software can all use to support your various user
needs.From the same server,you can support authentication for your network,
Intranet,virtual private network (VPN),and Web site.From single sign-on to
application neutrality,LDAP is a simple,flexible solution.
ApacheDS:The Apache Directory Server
The Apache Directory Server (ApacheDS) is an embeddable LDAP server written in
Java.Like Geronimo,it too is very modular and an ideal tool for implementing the
LDAP protocol.Also,the front end is separate from the back end,making it flexible
for implementing other technologies,including virtual directories,proxy servers,and
gateways to X.500.The project also plans to implement other handy features like
triggers and stored procedures.ApacheDS is also a JNDI LDAP provider,making it
a great J2EE directory implementation.For more information on ApacheDS check
out the documentation (see Resources for the link).
Section 3.The LDAP Tools for Eclipse plug-in
This section introduces the LDAP Tools for Eclipse and shows you how to install,
configure,and troubleshoot the installation of this plug-in.This Eclipse plug-in is an
excellent means to read and configure information in LDAP servers because of the
usability and portability of the Eclipse platform.
LDAP Tools for Eclipse
In my opinion,Eclipse is the best freely available IDE.One of the reasons I believe
this is because,like Geronimo,it is based on an overall lightweight,modular platform
architecture.Almost everything integrated into Eclipse is considered a plug-in,from
the Java compiler to the project structure views.This model allows developers to
customize their development environment to suit their project needs.
A typical plug-in consists of Java code in a Java Archive (JAR) library,some
read-only files,and other resources like images,Web templates,message catalogs,
native code libraries,and so on.Usually,a small tool is written as a single plug-in,
whereas a complex tool has its functionality split across several plug-ins.Except for
a small kernel known as the Platform Runtime,all of the Eclipse platform's
functionality is located in plug-ins.
Cyrone develops the LDAP Tools for Eclipse plug-in used in this tutorial to manage
the Geronimo LDAP instance (see Resources for more information).The LDAP
Tools for Eclipse plug-in provides functionality for working with LDAP directories
from within Eclipse,which allows you to view and manage the LDAP directory.You'll
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walk through importing hypothetical personal information into the LDAP server as
well as viewing a populated directory and its entries without leaving your IDE.
Install LDAP Tools for Eclipse
If you haven't already downloaded and installed Eclipse,Version 3.1.2,do so now
(see Prerequisite knowledge for the link).Eclipse comes as a.zip package that can
be extracted to any directory on your computer.Assuming you have Java Standard
Edition 1.4.2 or later,starting Eclipse is very straightforward.Eclipse comes with a
standard startup that quickly brings up a workspace in which to develop Java-based
projects.
The LDAP Tools for Eclipse plug-in is available from Cyrone.com (see Resources for
a link).The easiest way to install an Eclipse plug-in is to use the Update function.In
the Eclipse menu,select Help > Software Updates > Find and Install.
Select Search for new features to install,then New Remote Site (see Figure 1).
Figure 1.New Update Site form
You'll be presented with a form for the plug-in name and a URL to install from.Fill it
in as shown below:
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Name:LDAP Tools
URL:http://cyrone.com/eclipseupdates
Debug problems
If all goes well with the LDAP Tools for Eclipse plug-in installation,you should be
able to view the LDAP tools in the Configuration view.Under the Help menu,go to
Software Updates > Manage Configuration.There you should be able to expand
the Eclipse SDK configuration tree to view LDAP Tools for Eclipse Version 1.0.x.At
the time of this writing,the version is 1.0.7,but that could change soon.If for any
reason your plug-in is not listed,you may want to check the Display Disabled
Plug-ins icons to see if you have another plug-in or feature that conflicts with it.
Bring the plug-in into view
To work with the LDAP Tools for Eclipse plug-in,you have to bring up the Plug-in
view.For more information about Eclipse views,see the"Getting started with the
Eclipse Platform"(developerWorks,November 2002) article.To open a currently
concealed view in the Eclipse menu,click the Window drop-down menu,and select
Show View > Other.In the LDAP folder,you'll see the LDAP tree view.Select the
LDAP tree view,which shows you a new panel with two buttons:Connect to an
LDAP server and Refresh the data in the tree.
Section 4.Create LDAP entries and import them into
Geronimo
Now that you have an enterprise-worthy directory service and a tool coexisting in
your development environment,you're ready to start creating your list of favorite
people to access and update across all of your enterprise applications.Start by
connecting to ApacheDS and examining a Lightweight Directory Interchange Format
(LDIF) file.
Connect to Geronimo ApacheDS
With both Geronimo and Eclipse installed and prepared,you can start up Geronimo
and connect to the LDAP server.You start Geronimo by using the startup script in
the uncompressed Geronimo directory or by calling Java -jar bin/server.jar
in the root directory of Geronimo.After Geronimo completes its startup cycle,you
can connect to the embedded ApacheDS LDAP server.When you choose to
connect to an LDAP server,a dialog pops up asking for the LDAP URL,username,
and password information.Enter ldap://localhost:1389/ou=system as the
URL,uid=admin,ou=system as the username,secret as the password,as
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shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2.LDAP Connection
You can test this connection or accept the values and move on to viewing the LDAP
server information.
LDIF
LDIF is an ASCII file format used to exchange data and enable the synchronization
of that data between implementations of LDAP services.LDIF files allow you to
import and export the contents of an entire directory and also provide the data in a
relatively readable format.An LDIF file is fairly straightforward when you understand
the shorthand of the format.Listing 1 is an example LDIF file from the Geronimo
documentation (see Resources for a link);a review of the attributes appears right
after the listing.
Listing 1.ldap-sample.ldif
#User:system
dn:uid=system,ou=users,ou=system
cn:John Doe
sn:Doe
givenname:John
objectclass:top
objectclass:person
objectclass:organizationalPerson
objectclass:inetOrgPerson
ou:Human Resources
ou:People
l:Las Vegas
uid:system
mail:system@apachecon.comm
telephonenumber:+1 408 555 5555
facsimiletelephonenumber:+1 408 555 5556
roomnumber:4613
userPassword:manager
#User:user1
dn:uid=user1,ou=users,ou=system
cn:User
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sn:One
givenname:User1
objectclass:top
objectclass:person
objectclass:organizationalPerson
objectclass:inetOrgPerson
ou:Human Resources
ou:People
l:Las Vegas
uid:user1
mail:user1@apachecon.comm
telephonenumber:+1 408 555 5555
facsimiletelephonenumber:+1 408 555 5556
roomnumber:4613
userPassword:p1
#User:user2
dn:uid=user2,ou=users,ou=system
cn:User
sn:Two
givenname:User2
objectclass:top
objectclass:person
objectclass:organizationalPerson
objectclass:inetOrgPerson
ou:Human Resources
ou:People
l:Las Vegas
uid:user2
mail:user2@apachecon.comm
telephonenumber:+1 408 555 5555
facsimiletelephonenumber:+1 408 555 5556
roomnumber:4613
userPassword:p2
#Group:admin
dn:cn=admin,ou=groups,ou=system
objectClass:groupOfUniqueNames
uniqueMember:uid=system,ou=users,ou=system
cn:admin
#Group:guest
dn:cn=guest,ou=groups,ou=system
objectClass:groupOfUniqueNames
uniqueMember:uid=user1,ou=users,ou=system
uniqueMember:uid=user2,ou=users,ou=system
cn:guest
LDIF attributes
A standard LDIF is composed of attributes.Each attribute includes various defined
types.Attribute types and their syntax rules are not unlike variable and data type
declarations found in many programming languages and database systems.
Attributes are used to store information,and that information is defined by the type of
information it contains.For instance,first names and last names are likely values in
a form.
The dn attribute stands for Distinguished Name,which is the topmost entry in our
file.A dn is an LDAP entry that identifies and describes an authorized user for an
LDAP server.You'll notice that we define a dn under each group and user section.
The dc attribute is a domain object class attribute of an LDAP entry.A domain class
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is generally referred to in the same way an organizational domain is referenced for
Internet addressing.For instance,everyone at IBM may have a contact entry under
the dn:dc=ibm,dc=com.The convention is that after a dn is declared,a
geographic organization attribute or a domain class is defined.For instance,dn:
o=ibm,l=TX,c=US is a perfectly valid top-level entry for IBM as well,where o is the
organization,l is the locale,and c is the country.The three valid entries after dn:
are organization,country,or organizational unit (ou).
The ou attribute is the organizational unit container of the LDAP implementation,
which represents branches of a tree that make up a company or a country
geographically.Thus,they can be nested within each other.
The cn attribute stands for Common Names,which are used to represent
unstructured names,addresses,e-mail addresses,ISBNs,serial numbers,and so
on.If you're starting to think that perhaps cn is a catch-all for what isn't represented
by Distinguished Names,you may be right.
The sn attribute stands for Surnames,which are more specific representations of
the cn format.A surname is a formalization of whatever surname means in the
culture of implementation.
Create entries
You can use several LDAP clients to view and manage your LDAP directories
outside of Eclipse,many of which allow you to import the LDIF file directly.If you
have an external tool of choice,you can do that first step through the entry-creation
process.For large imports of existing data,it's to your advantage to make use of
imports.Use the Jxplorer tool to do more concise LDIF import and export (see
Resources for a link).For the purpose of this tutorial,you'll enter values one at a
time.
Section 5.View the LDAP server
This tutorial introduces an LDAP directory population and prepares you for Part 2 in
this series,where you develop LDAP applications.At the end of this tutorial you'll
have an environment in which both the LDAP directory and the application being
developed to access the directory are available at a glance.
From TOAD to Eclipse
In a previous life,one resembling many of those I work with everyday,I used a
database table viewer and editor called TOAD,which I believe is still available.
TOAD gave a user-friendly interface to data normally only available through SQL
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calls or bulky tools provided by the vendor.I had to switch between my IDE and the
TOAD client,but it was a better at-a-glance presentation than what I had dealt with
in the past.Since then,I've moved to using Eclipse plug-ins to view the relational
data populated in development databases.The switch from external LDAP tools and
the LDAP tool plug-in is just as liberating.Within the same workspace in which code
is being developed,a referential view to your directory is available.The convenience
of this cannot be discounted.
Total Eclipse of LDAP
After you've connected to the initial directory structure within Eclipse,you can
expand the icon with your LDAP URL to display the LDAP tree.By expanding this
tree you can see the groups and users ou attributes,and you can enter new user
groups and other entries.Each entry under the DN system is itself a container for
additional entries or additional containers (see Figure 3).
Figure 3.LDAP tree
To add new entries to your organizational unit,right-click on the organizational unit
and select Create New Entry.You can base your entries on the LDIF covered
earlier in this tutorial or create your own.Entries at any level can be created
depending upon the ou,or other container level,in the tree you select to create.
To add new entries to your organizational unit,right-click on the organizational unit
and select Create New Entry.You can base your entries on the LDIF covered
earlier in this tutorial or create your own.Entries at any level can be created
depending upon the ou,or other container level,in the tree you select to
right-click>Create.
The LDAP entry
A default example LDAP entry is given under the LDAP tools to help populate your
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directory.In the example LDAP Tools,you're presented with a Relative
Distinguished Name (RDN) with attributes.The RDN can be a surname,as assumed
by our example,a common name,or a given name (see Figure 4).
Figure 4.New LDAP entry
The RDN is the portion of your dn that's not related to the directory tree structure.
Most items that you'll store in an LDAP directory will have a name,and the name is
frequently stored in the cn (Common Name) attribute.Since nearly everything has a
name,most objects you'll store in LDAP will use their cn value as the basis for their
RDN.
You can base your entry on the LDIF by entering a new RDN following the first user
you have (see Listing 2).
Listing 2.First entry
dn:uid=system,ou=users,ou=system
cn:John Doe
sn:Doe
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givenname:John
objectclass:top
objectclass:person
objectclass:organizationalPerson
objectclass:inetOrgPerson
ou:Human Resources
ou:People
l:Las Vegas
uid:system
mail:system@apachecon.com
telephonenumber:+1 408 555 5555
facsimiletelephonenumber:+1 408 555 5556
roomnumber:4613
userPassword:manager
John Doe is the human resources manager of our fictional company.He's located in
Las Vegas;his e-mail address,phone,and fax numbers are all read easily by both
applications and us.The entry could be pasted almost entirely unchanged into the
LDAP entry.The only exception is the dn:entry,which can be changed to reflect
the group entry you're entering under.
When selecting an entry,the options include editing each entry,allowing you to
change each entry and its attributes if necessary (see Figure 5).The only
noneditable attribute of an entry is its parent dn.If you need to edit it,you must
select it in a separate action.
Figure 5.Editing LDAP entry
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In the LDAP entry,you can see the corresponding LDIF subentry reflected.Continue
entering the other entries until you have a representation of the LDIF file we covered
earlier.Now you can go ahead and enter the next user we outlined previously.
Listing 3.User 2
dn:uid=user2,ou=users,ou=system
cn:Sarah Jane
sn:Jane
givenname:Sarah
objectclass:top
objectclass:person
objectclass:organizationalPerson
objectclass:inetOrgPerson
ou:Administrative Assistants.
ou:People
l:Las Vegas
uid:user2
mail:user2@apachecon.comm
telephonenumber:+1 408 555 5555
facsimiletelephonenumber:+1 408 555 5556
roomnumber:4613
userPassword:p2
Our second user is pretty much the same as our John Doe.You can see the main
difference in the organizational unit,which is Administrative Assistant,and
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notice that we're grouping users into corporate departments in our fictional company.
By continuing through our entries,you can see the users populated in the LDAP tree
(see Figure 6).
Figure 6.Users
You may want to take this structure and model your own contact list or the global
address list for your own corporation.We'll use the contact list you populate here to
be manipulated by a Geronimo-based application.The contents are only important in
respect to the structure of their entries and the LDAP conventions.After you've
entered 10 or 20 people in your contact list,you'll have a populated directory for all
of your applications to connect to.
You've created a development environment in which you can view and update your
production LDAP directory directly from the IDE.This is a valuable configuration;
you've eliminated the irritant of having to open a separate application to confirm that
data sources are populated correctly.Having a solid environment for developing a
Web application to interface with an LDAP directory is the first step in creating your
Geronimo application.
Section 6.Summary
You should now have a good understanding of LDAP.You've connected to
ApacheDS,the LDAP directory embedded into Apache Geronimo.You have an IDE
for both an application development editor and an LDAP editor.Using the LDAP
Tools for Eclipse,you explored the structure of LDAP containers and entries.You've
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also entered hypothetical information into the LDAP server and prepared for the next
tutorial,where you'll query the LDAP server and update a Web site with the stylish
new Ajax JavaScript methodology.
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Resources
Learn
• Read"Build an LDAP-based address book"(developerWorks,September 2002)
to learn how to create an LDAP-based back end to store contact information
that multiple applications can share.
• Explore the Eclipse IDE in the article,"Getting started with the Eclipse Platform"
(developerWorks,November 2002).
• Get an introduction to developing with Eclipse in the article,"Working the
Eclipse Platform"(developerWorks,November 2001).
• Visit Apache Directory Server,the home of Geronimo's embedded LDAP
server.
• Get the Atlassian Geronimo documentation.
• Check out a Geronimo LDAP example from the Atlassian documentation.
• Visit the Geronimo Wiki.
• Join the Apache Geronimo mailing list.
• Read the X.500 overview for information on the X.500 directory service.
• Check out more great pieces on Geronimo:
•"Building a better J2EE server,the open source way"(developerWorks,
May 2005)
•"Geronimo!Part 1:The J2EE 1.4 engine that could"(developerWorks,
May 2005)
•"Geronimo!Part 2:Tame this J2EE 1.4 bronco"(developerWorks,May
2005)
•"Three ways to connect a database to a Geronimo application server"
(developerWorks,June 2005)
•"Create,deploy,and debug Apache Geronimo applications"
(developerWorks,May 2005)
•"Apache Geronimo uncovered"(developerWorks,August 2005)
• Visit the developerWorks Open source zone for extensive how-to information,
tools,and project updates to help you develop with open source technologies
and use them with IBM's products.
• Check out the developerWorks Apache Geronimo project area for articles,
tutorials,and other resources to help you get started developing with Geronimo
today.
• Check out the IBM Support for Apache Geronimo offering,which lets you
develop Geronimo applications backed by world-class IBM support.
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• Find helpful resources for beginners and experienced users at the Get started
now with Apache Geronimo section of developerWorks.
• Browse all the Apache articles and free Apache tutorials available in the
developerWorks Open source zone.
• Browse for books on these and other technical topics at the Safari bookstore.
Get products and technologies
• Get LDAP Tools for Eclipse,an Eclipse plug-in for working with LDAP
directories.
• Get the Jxplorer tool to do more concise LDIF importing and exporting.
• Visit the home of the Eclipse Project.
• Innovate your next open source development project with IBM trial software,
available for download or on DVD.
• Download your free copy of IBM WebSphere Application Server Community
Edition V1.0 -- a lightweight J2EE application server built on Apache Geronimo
open source technology that is designed to help you accelerate your
development and deployment efforts.
Discuss
• Participate in the discussion forum for this content.
• Stay up to date on Geronimo developments at the Apache Geronimo blog.
• Get involved in the developerWorks community by participating in
developerWorks blogs.
About the author
Matthew Jording
Matthew Jording has spent the last decade developing Java Enterprise applications
for Fortune 500 companies.Currently employed by Sensis Corporation,Matthew is
working on a Geronimo-based service-oriented architecture for the Aerospace
Industry.Matthew and co-author Nathan Mittler are writing Geronimo In Action for
Manning Publications.Matthew is married with two teenage daughters and lives in
Syracuse,New York.
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