28 October 2010
We are working towards the launch of Crowd 2.1, with a number of new features and improvements. These release notes are for Crowd 2.1 Beta 2, which is now available for review. We will publish the final release notes when we release the production-ready version of Crowd 2.1.
We would love your feedback on this beta release. See our download instructions and early adopter's guide below.
Crowd 2.1 Beta 1 was an internal release. Beta 2 is the first publicly-available beta of Crowd 2.1.
Do not use a beta release on production servers
- Beta releases are not safe. A beta release is a snapshot of the ongoing Crowd development process. While we try to keep these releases stable, they have not undergone the same degree of testing as a full release.
- Features in beta releases may be incomplete, or may change or be removed before the next full release.
- Because beta releases represent work in progress, we cannot provide a supported upgrade path between beta releases or from any beta to the eventual final release. Therefore, you may not be able to migrate data stored in a Crowd beta release to a future Crowd release.
What's New in Crowd 2.1 Beta 2
Crowd 2.1 introduces a new set of REST APIs for use by applications connecting to Crowd. This is especially great news for people developing a custom application connector. The new REST APIs are now available for beta testing. They offer the following features for client applications:
- User authentication and SSO.
- Retrieving, adding, updating and removing users.
- Retrieving, adding, updating and removing custom user attributes.
- Updating a user's password and requesting a password reset.
- Retrieving, adding, updating and removing groups.
- Retrieving, adding, updating and removing custom group attributes.
- Retrieving, adding, updating and removing group memberships.
- Retrieving, adding, updating and removing nested group memberships.
- A fully functional, comprehensive search API. Initially, the search API will be quite terse in construction as the queries will be an XML/JSON serialisation of our internal search objects. We will provide a Java client that assists in constructing the queries.
Database-Backed Caching for All LDAP Directories
Earlier versions of Crowd provided in-memory caching for LDAP user and group data. Now, with Crowd 2.1, the LDAP cache is stored in the Crowd database.
- Read-only queries will hit the database and not the LDAP server. This means that the performance of queries on LDAP data will be the same as queries on the Crowd internal directory.
- You can execute complex searches like "find me all the users starting with 'a' that have an email address containing '@example.com'".
- You can store and query custom attributes for users and groups in LDAP directories as well as in Crowd internal directories. (The custom attributes are stored in the Crowd database, not LDAP.)
- Database-backed caching is available for all LDAP servers. (The earlier in-memory model worked only with Microsoft Active Directory and ApacheDS.)
See the Crowd 2.1 Beta Guide to LDAP Caching.
LDAP Connection Pooling
Crowd now supports connection pooling for your LDAP servers. The LDAP service provider maintains a pool of connections and assigns them as needed. When a connection is closed, LDAP returns the connection to the pool for future use. See the Crowd 2.1 Beta Guide to LDAP Connection Pooling.
Secure Password Resets
When someone has forgotten their password, Crowd no longer sends them a new password. Instead, it sends them a unique, random URL, prompting them to choose their own new password.
Early Adopter's Guide to Reviewing Crowd 2.1 Beta 2
Downloading Crowd 2.1 Beta 2
The beta release is available on the Crowd Early Access Program download site.
Upgrading to Crowd 2.1 Beta 2
Please refer to the Crowd 2.1 Beta 2 Upgrade and Integration Notes.
Targets for your Testing
We invite your feedback on this beta release, in particular on the following aspects:
- The new REST APIs. See our overview of the new APIs and guide to the REST resources.
- Database-backed LDAP caching. See the Crowd 2.1 Beta Guide to LDAP Caching.
We are keen to hear about any performance improvements or other impacts that you notice. Try tuning the polling interval and let us know what happens. We have optimised the database caching for directories containing approximately 10 000 (ten thousand) users. If your directory is significantly larger the new caching may not be as beneficial, but we are interested in hearing about the performance of larger directories too. When sending feedback, please include the following information:
- Your LDAP directory type (Active Directory, ApacheDS, Novell eDirectory, etc).
- The number of users, groups and average memberships per user in your directory.
- The time it takes to synchronise.
- Any other information you consider relevant, such as network topology, whether you are using SSL, and so on.
Sending your FeedBack and Questions
If you have general comments and feedback, please add them as comments to this release notes page. If you encounter a bug or would like to request an improvement, please log an issue in our issue tracker with an affected version of '2.1.0-beta2'.