Having gone through some of the trails in this tutorial, such as The Basics trail, the Java Objects and the Directory trail, or the Tips for LDAP Users trail, you probably have used some of the examples to access or update data in a naming or directory service. You were able to use these examples, or write programs of your own that use the JNDI, even though you had very little detail about the name argument that is used pervasively throughout the JNDI. This is because the concept of a name is so ubiquitous that we all share some common preconceived notions of what it is and how to use it. The JNDI methods support such common notions and, for the most part, treat names in an intuitive manner. Consequently, not much discussion of how to specify a name is necessary.
This lesson covers the different types of names and their uses in the JNDI. It is intended for applications that need to do more than just pass name parameters to methods. The lesson first discusses of the use of string names and structured names and why the JNDI contains both. It then describes the two different types of structured names: composite and compound. The last part shows how to handle names that include special characters and how to parse and compose names.
See the URLs lesson for a discussion of how URLs are treated as names in the JNDI.