List the Context
Trail: Java Naming and Directory Interface
Lesson: Naming and Directory Operations

List the Context

Instead of getting a single object at a time, as with Context.lookup() , you can list an entire context by using a single operation. There are two methods for listing a context: one that returns the bindings and one that returns only the name-to-object class name pairs.

The Context.List() Method

Context.list() returns an enumeration of NameClassPair. Each NameClassPair consists of the object's name and its class name. The following code fragment lists the contents of the "ou=People" directory (i.e., the files and directories found in "ou=People" directory).

NamingEnumeration list = ctx.list("ou=People");

while (list.hasMore()) {
    NameClassPair nc = (NameClassPair);

Running this example yields the following output.

# java List
cn=Jon Ruiz:
cn=Scott Seligman:
cn=Samuel Clemens:
cn=Rosanna Lee:
cn=Maxine Erlund:
cn=Niels Bohr:
cn=Uri Geller:
cn=Colleen Sullivan:
cn=Vinnie Ryan:
cn=Rod Serling:
cn=Jonathan Wood:
cn=Aravindan Ranganathan:
cn=Ian Anderson:
cn=Lao Tzu:
cn=Don Knuth:
cn=Roger Waters:
cn=Ben Dubin:
cn=Spuds Mackenzie:
cn=John Fowler:
cn=Londo Mollari:
cn=Ted Geisel:

The Context.listBindings() Method

Context.listBindings() returns an enumeration of Binding. Binding is a subclass of NameClassPair. A binding contains not only the object's name and class name, but also the object. The following code enumerates the "ou=People" context, printing out each binding's name and object.

NamingEnumeration bindings = ctx.listBindings("ou=People");

while (bindings.hasMore()) {
    Binding bd = (Binding);
    System.out.println(bd.getName() + ": " + bd.getObject());

Running this example yields the following output.

# java ListBindings
cn=Jon Ruiz: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@1d4c61c
cn=Scott Seligman: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@1a626f
cn=Samuel Clemens: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@34a1fc
cn=Rosanna Lee: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@176c74b
cn=Maxine Erlund: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@11b9fb1
cn=Niels Bohr: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@913fe2
cn=Uri Geller: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@12558d6
cn=Colleen Sullivan: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@eb7859
cn=Vinnie Ryan: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@12a54f9
cn=Rod Serling: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@30e280
cn=Jonathan Wood: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@16672d6
cn=Aravindan Ranganathan: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@fd54d6
cn=Ian Anderson: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@1415de6
cn=Lao Tzu: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@7bd9f2
cn=Don Knuth: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@121cc40
cn=Roger Waters: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@443226
cn=Ben Dubin: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@1386000
cn=Spuds Mackenzie: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@26d4f1
cn=John Fowler: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@1662dc8
cn=Londo Mollari: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@147c5fc
cn=Ted Geisel: com.sun.jndi.ldap.LdapCtx@3eca90

Terminating a NamingEnumeration

A NamingEnumeration can be terminated in one of three ways: naturally, explicitly, or unexpectedly.

Regardless of how an enumeration has been terminated, once terminated it can no longer be used. Invoking a method on a terminated enumeration yields an undefined result.

Why Two Different List Methods?

list() is intended for browser-style applications that just want to display the names of objects in a context. For example, a browser might list the names in a context and wait for the user to select one or a few of the names displayed to perform further operations. Such applications typically do not need access to all of the objects in a context.

listBindings() is intended for applications that need to perform operations on the objects in a context en masse. For example, a backup application might need to perform "file stats" operations on all of the objects in a file directory. Or a printer administration program might want to restart all of the printers in a building. To perform such operations, these applications need to obtain all of the objects bound in a context. Thus it is more expedient to have the objects returned as part of the enumeration.

The application can use either list() or the potentially more expensive listBindings(), depending on the type of information it needs.

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