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A one-trick pony that does the trick well

May 31, 20043 mins
Access ControlEnterprise Applications

* Under the hood of NameScape's Active Catalog white pages

Convergence is something we talk about in this space from time to time and today is one of those times. But it’s not convergence of protocols and standards that I want to mention today. Instead, it’s a convergence of two of the concepts that intrigue me as they offer a very good ration of reward to risk when combined.

The first concept is “do one thing, and do it well.” While circus audiences may tire of a “one trick pony” fairly quickly, the ability to perform one action – but leverage that action in multiple ways – has led to the success of companies such as Citrix and VMWare.

The second concept is that hoary old project, the online address book or “white pages” that I’m always suggesting as your first identity management initiative. The online address book can enable you to demonstrate the usefulness of identity management at a relatively low cost in terms of time, money and resources.

Put those two together and you’ve got NameScape (

NameScape is a start-up with one product, Active Catalog, which is currently in beta. Active Catalog is a white pages application, built on Active Directory – or Active Directory/Application Mode. It is template-based for ease of use and is extensible (to ring changes on the “one trick”).

Active Catalog allows almost anyone to configure the Search, Results, Detail and Edit sections of each catalog application using data from the schema. You can add custom fields and forms to the Employee catalog provided, or you can create your own catalogs from scratch, but you, the user, are in charge of every aspect of searching, rendering and editing. Active Catalog does this without requiring any programming expertise, and with little or no directory knowledge.

NameScape is the brainchild of Randy Bradley, better known as a co-founder of NetPro, which likes to call itself “the Directory Expert.” NameScape exists to leverage the benefits of Active Directory (and other Microsoft directory technologies) to deliver what Bradley calls “a new family of thin and extensible” directory-based applications and services that requires no programming knowledge or database expertise. That’s certainly a tall order, but one that’s easily within Bradley’s grasp.

If you’re running Active Directory (or AD/AM), download the beta of Active Catalog. Give it a test drive and see how it feels. Let Bradley know what you like – and don’t like – about it and maybe, in a few years, I’ll be including NameScape along with Citrix and VMWare as successful one-trick software ponies.