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Building an LDAP database "for dummies"

Perhaps I am a bottom-up learner. The only way I have ever been able to learn anything about computers or programming is to play with an example and then read the theory that explains why it works. If I try to read the theory first, I grasp nothing.

In trying to learn how to create an LDAP database, my head is spinning with all the verbiage about trees, DN, CN, DC, slapd.conf, ldap.conf and so on. Is there a simple working example with an LDIF file, slapd.conf, and ldap.conf file that could get me started?

No matter what I try, ldapadd always complains that there is "No such object". The error message is useless as it doesn't tell me which object. And, of course, some of the objects don't exist because I'm trying to define them! Catch-22.

What I'm reading in the documentation and in this group tells me that the database has a "tree" structure that must match in the database and the queries. What is this tree? Is it the schema files that are included into slapd.conf? Or is it the DN, CN, objectClass statements in the LDIF file I use to create the database? Or, is something else I don't yet know about?

While writing this, I've discovered a Mandrake document on LDAP that doesn't look as horrendously complex as some of the other stuff I've tried to use, like TLDP's LDAP How-To. I'll give it a try.

Can anyone suggest documentation that really begins at the beginning and provides a very simple working example?