Would you like to save yourself an enormous amount of time by creating hundreds or thousands of user objects with just one command? If so, you need to learn how to use the NetWare DOS utility UIMPORT. This helpful utility allows you to import ASCII text file records into NDS as user objects.

Just three steps
Using UIMPORT involves three steps:

  1. Create an ASCII text file containing the records that will be imported to NDS.
  2. Create a control file to provide parameters to UIMPORT and to define the fields that make up the records in the data file.
  3. Execute UIMPORT.

Let’s examine each step in detail.

UIMPORT’s data file is a comma-delimited ASCII text file containing all the records that will be imported into NDS. The records contain the fields of the user object that you want populated. String fields must be enclosed in quotes, and there can’t be any spaces between the fields. If commas are part of a field, they must be enclosed in quotes; otherwise, UIMPORT will interpret the comma as a delimiter and create two separate fields.

You can collect your data using a database application or any other application that can export data to a delimited ASCII text file. Then, just export the selected information to the ASCII text file, and voilà—your data file has been created. Figure A shows an example of a data file.

Figure A

The control file determines how the records from the data file are written to NDS. The first part of the file contains control parameters that allow you to regulate how the data file is interpreted. Some common control parameters are:

  • Name Context—Specifies the NDS context where the user is created
  • User Template—Specifies which template is used to create the users
  • Create Home Directory—Allows you to automatically create a users home directory
  • Home Directory Path—Required if you create a home directory
  • Home Directory Volume—Required if you create a home directory

The field definitions follow the control parameters and define the type and order of data in the record. Make sure that the information in the data file appears in the same order as the field definitions. You can create the control file using any DOS text editor. Figure B shows an example of a complete control file.

Figure B

Once you’ve created the two files, you can execute UIMPORT and create your NDS objects. By default, errors will be displayed on the screen. If you’d like errors to be stored in a log file, you can add the >LOGFILE parameter at the end of the UIMPORT command. The syntax to execute UIMPORT is:
UIMPORT control_file data_file >LOGFILE

Although UIMPORT is fairly simple to use, beware of using it during business hours. All the users you create will need to be added to all of the replicas, causing network performance to suffer. It’s best to create the new users after hours or on the weekend.

This utility can save you a tremendous amount of time, not to mention increasing the accuracy of the data. Manually creating hundreds of users could take many hours, or even days. With UIMPORT, you should be able to get home in time for the evening news.

Steve Pittsley is a CNE and desktop analyst for a Milwaukee hospital.

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