The Directory Services Markup Language or DSML is a protocol that may be used to communicate with directory servers.

DSML is an alternative to LDAP, and uses an XML-based representation of requests and responses instead of the ASN.1 Basic Encoding Rules encoding that LDAP uses.

In general, DSML is seen as a relatively weak alternative to LDAP because it provides very little benefit and incurs a significant cost because the XML representation is much more verbose and expensive to process when compared with the BER encoding that LDAP uses. In most cases, it is recommended that LDAP be used instead of DSML to interact with the server.

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