Network Working Group                                           T. Howes
Request for Comments: 1960                        University of Michigan
Obsoletes: 1558                                                June 1996
Category: Standards Track

             A String Representation of LDAP Search Filters

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet standards track protocol for the
   Internet community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Please refer to the current edition of the "Internet
   Official Protocol Standards" (STD 1) for the standardization state
   and status of this protocol.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

1.  Abstract

   The Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) [1] defines a
   network representation of a search filter transmitted to an LDAP
   server.  Some applications may find it useful to have a common way of
   representing these search filters in a human-readable form.  This
   document defines a human-readable string format for representing LDAP
   search filters.

2.  LDAP Search Filter Definition

   An LDAP search filter is defined in [1] as follows:

     Filter ::= CHOICE {
             and                [0] SET OF Filter,
             or                 [1] SET OF Filter,
             not                [2] Filter,
             equalityMatch      [3] AttributeValueAssertion,
             substrings         [4] SubstringFilter,
             greaterOrEqual     [5] AttributeValueAssertion,
             lessOrEqual        [6] AttributeValueAssertion,
             present            [7] AttributeType,
             approxMatch        [8] AttributeValueAssertion

     SubstringFilter ::= SEQUENCE {
             type    AttributeType,
             SEQUENCE OF CHOICE {
                     initial        [0] LDAPString,
                     any            [1] LDAPString,
                     final          [2] LDAPString

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RFC 1960                  LDAP Search Filters                  June 1996

     AttributeValueAssertion ::= SEQUENCE {
             attributeType   AttributeType,
             attributeValue  AttributeValue

     AttributeType ::= LDAPString

     AttributeValue ::= OCTET STRING

     LDAPString ::= OCTET STRING

   where the LDAPString above is limited to the IA5 character set.  The
   AttributeType is a string representation of the attribute type name
   and is defined in [1].  The AttributeValue OCTET STRING has the form
   defined in [2].  The Filter is encoded for transmission over a
   network using the Basic Encoding Rules defined in [3], with
   simplifications described in [1].

3.  String Search Filter Definition

   The string representation of an LDAP search filter is defined by the
   following grammar.  It uses a prefix format.

     <filter> ::= '(' <filtercomp> ')'
     <filtercomp> ::= <and> | <or> | <not> | <item>
     <and> ::= '&' <filterlist>
     <or> ::= '|' <filterlist>
     <not> ::= '!' <filter>
     <filterlist> ::= <filter> | <filter> <filterlist>
     <item> ::= <simple> | <present> | <substring>
     <simple> ::= <attr> <filtertype> <value>
     <filtertype> ::= <equal> | <approx> | <greater> | <less>
     <equal> ::= '='
     <approx> ::= '~='
     <greater> ::= '>='
     <less> ::= '<='
     <present> ::= <attr> '=*'
     <substring> ::= <attr> '=' <initial> <any> <final>
     <initial> ::= NULL | <value>
     <any> ::= '*' <starval>
     <starval> ::= NULL | <value> '*' <starval>
     <final> ::= NULL | <value>

   <attr> is a string representing an AttributeType, and has the format
   defined in [1].  <value> is a string representing an AttributeValue,
   or part of one, and has the form defined in [2].  If a <value> must
   contain one of the characters '*' or '(' or ')', these characters
   should be escaped by preceding them with the backslash '\' character.

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RFC 1960                  LDAP Search Filters                  June 1996

   Note that although both the <substring> and <present> productions can
   produce the 'attr=*' construct, this construct is used only to denote
   a presence filter.

4.  Examples

   This section gives a few examples of search filters written using
   this notation.

     (cn=Babs Jensen)
     (!(cn=Tim Howes))
     (&(objectClass=Person)(|(sn=Jensen)(cn=Babs J*)))

5.  Security Considerations

   Security considerations are not discussed in this memo.

6.  Bibliography

   [1] Yeong, W., Howes, T., and S. Kille, "Lightweight
       Directory Access Protocol", RFC 1777, March 1995.

   [2] Howes, R., Kille, S., Yeong, W., and C. Robbins, "The String
       Representation of Standard Attribute Syntaxes", RFC 1778,
       March 1995.

   [3] Specification of Basic Encoding Rules for Abstract Syntax
       Notation One (ASN.1).  CCITT Recommendation X.209, 1988.

7.  Author's Address

   Tim Howes
   University of Michigan
   ITD Research Systems
   535 W William St.
   Ann Arbor, MI 48103-4943

   Phone: +1 313 747-4454

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