Notes on OpenDJ integration with Liferay

Posted 13 years ago by Nemanja Lukic

Liferay is a popular open source portal solution written in J2EE technology. It features abundance of portlets and plug-ins, as well as many integration options for popular access management and identity solutions. Unfortunately, OpenDJ is not found anywhere in the official (or extra official) documentation. No need to worry as the set-up is more or less trouble-free.

Web Interface set-up

OpenDJ, formerly known as OpenDS is a full implementation of the LDAP version 3 which is also supported by Liferay as a client. Hence, the integration as a generic LDAP service is rather trivial if performed via Web interface:

  • we need to log in as the administrator and open the Control Panel in the Manage drop-down menu;
  • we choose the Settings option within the Portal section;
  • here, on the left side, under Configuration options, we chose Authentication, and finally LDAP;
  • we Add the server;
  • name parameter identifies this particular server instance;
  • Other Directory Server should be selected as a generic LDAP server.
  • Base Provider URL represents the server host and port in the URI syntax;
  • Base DN is the starting point in the tree where all the searches should start from;
  • Principal is the user which Liferay uses to connect to the directory and perform required operations;
  • Credentials is the password of the principal.
  • Authentication Search Filter is the filter Liferay would use to search for the Liferay users (hoovering over the question mark gives more information on the type of variables that could be used to perform the mapping of Liferay fields to LDAP attributes);
  • Import Search Filter is used to identify the LDAP entries to be imported to Liferay user database, if the import option has been set to true;
  • Screen Name is the LDAP attribute which will be used for the value of Liferay screen name, by defualt it is “cn” but it could also be “uid”, depending on your directory design;
  • Password is the LDAP attribute which holds the user password hash, default is “userPassword” which is also the default value for OpenDJ;
  • E-mail Address is the LDAP attribute for the e-mail address, by default “mail”;
  • Full Name is the LDAP attribute for the full name of the user, by default it is empty, but typically it is “cn”;
  • First Name is the LDAP attribute for the first name of the user, by default it is “givenName”;
  • Middle Name is the LDAP attribute for the given name, by default it is empty;
  • Last Name is the LDAP attribute for the last name, by default it is “sn”;
  • Job Title is the LDAP attribute for the job title, by default it is “title”;
  • Group Membership is the LDAP attribute which lists the groups which the user belongs to, in OpenDJ this should be set to the operational attribute “isMemberOf”.
  • Import Search Filter is the LDAP filter which identifies the entries representing groups to be imported into the Liferay database if the import option has been set to true;
  • Group Name is the LDAP attribute which holds the name of the group, it defaults to “cn”;
  • Description is the LDAP attribute which holds the description of the group, it defaults to “description”;
  • User is the LDAP attribute which identifies the LDAP entry belonging to the group, it defaults to “uniqueMember”.
  • Users DN is the distinguished name of the LDAP branch which holds the user entries;
  • User Default Object Classes represents the object class hierarchy for the user entries, it defaults to “top,person,inetOrgPerson,organizationalPerson”;
  • Groups DN is the distinguished name of the LDAP branch which holds the group entries;
  • Group Default Object Classes represents the object class hierarchy for the group entries, it defaults to “top,groupOfUniqueNames”.
Most of the default values are reasonable and correspond to the standard schema, so you would normally want to leave them as such. However, apart from the minor changes that might be needed in order to reflect your directory design, the most notable parameter would be the “group membership” which you would want changed to “isMemberOf”.

Properties file setup

Although most of the parameters are configurable through the web interface, there are a few more which can be set only within the file. Please note that the web interface settings take precedence over the properties file, so if you have the same parameter set in both places, only the one in the web interface would be used.

The properties file has to be created in:

<web server root>/webapps/ROOT/WEB-INF/classes

The LDAP parameters with their default values are:

ldap.error.password.not.changeable=not allowed to change
ldap.error.user.lockout=retry limit

As you can see, most of the parameters are the same as on the web interface, so we will focus on those that differ and affect the integration with OpenDJ:

  • ldap.auth.method, ldap.auth.password.encryption.algorithm and ldap.auth.password.encryption.algorithm.types are complementary and define the way Liferay handles authentication: ldap.auth.method can have two possible values: bind or password-compare. bind means the portal would try to perform an LDAP bind operation as the provided user and credentials (looking up it’s DN with what is provided as the search filter parameter), and password-compare would generate a hash of the provided password and compare it to the has stored in the attribute specified as password parameter. For the second option, ldap.auth.password.encryption.algorithm and type specify which algorithms to use to produce the hash so that it can be matched to the hash in the directory.
  • ldap.import.method can be used to specified the way the LDAP entries are identified for importing (if this feature has been enabled). The possible values are: user and group. user option would use parameters specified for the user discovery (import filter and the attribute mapping), while the group option would first look for the groups and then import all members of the found groups.
  • although ldap.password.policy.enabled parameter exists in the web interface, the parameters which accompany it can be defined only the properties file. This parameter specifies that the Liferay should relay on the directory to handle the password policies (expiration, disabling and such) and the rest of the parameters define portions of the error messages returned by the directory which identify the state the account is in. Those parameters are: ldap.error.password.age, ldap.error.password.expired, ldap.error.password.history, ldap.error.password.not.changeable, ldap.error.password.syntax, ldap.error.password.trivial, ldap.error.user.lockout. Although, only ldap.error.user.lockout and ldap.error.password.expired are relevant as the LDAP authentication module does not verify any other.

LDAP password policy parameters

OpenDJ does not give the reason for the authentication failure by default as a security measure, but this option can be changed:

dsconfig -n -X set-global-configuration-prop –set return-bind-error-messages:true

Possible values might be:

ldap.error.password.not.changeable=password cannot be changed
ldap.error.password.syntax=password validator

The portal would try to match the portions of the message returned by the directory and then act upon it. Note that ldap.error.password.syntax and ldap.error.password.trivial depend on the particular password validator out you happen to use. All password validators have “password validator” as a common part in the message, but the actual reason differs depending on the particular error. The rest of the parameters are static and some even correspond with the defaults.

OpenDJ Password Policy settings

In order to delegate the use of password policies from the directory to the portal, the directory password policies have to be configured with your custom values:

dsconfig -X -D “cn=directory manager” -w password set-password-policy-prop –policy-name “default password policy”

Hope it helps!

UPDATE: On the petition of Liferay Community, this article has been added to the Liferay Community Wiki:

Nemanja Lukic

One Response to “Notes on OpenDJ integration with Liferay”

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