Open Data Protocol

Q: What is the Open Data Protocol?

A: The Open Data Protocol (OData) is a web protocol for querying and updating data. OData applies web technologies such as HTTP, Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub) and JSON to provide access to information from a variety of applications, services, and stores. OData emerged organically based on the experiences implementing AtomPub clients and servers in a variety of products over the past several years. OData is being used to expose and access information from a variety of sources, including but not limited to relational databases, file systems, content management systems, and traditional web sites. Microsoft has released OData under the Open Specification Promise (OSP) to allow anyone to freely interoperate with OData implementations.  We intend on working with others in the community to move the features of OData into future version of AtomPub or other appropriate standards.

There is a growing list of products that implement OData.  Microsoft supports the Open Data Protocol in SharePoint Server 2010, Excel 2010 (through SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel), Windows Azure Storage, SQL Server 2008 R2, Visual Studio 2008 SP1.  Support in other Microsoft products is currently underway.

The Open Data Protocol was previously talked about in three ways:

  • “Astoria” Protocol
  • ADO.NET Data Services Protocol
  • “Our conventions/extensions to AtomPub”

Please see http://odata.org for more information.

Q:  What are Microsoft’s aspirations for the protocol?

A: Customers have consistently given us feedback that we need to take what is already a standards-based approach and open it even further. We are excited about the many clients and services that use this protocol and look forward working with the community on it. We intend on working with others in the community to move the features of OData into future version of AtomPub or other appropriate standards..

Q:  How is the Open Data Protocol (OData)being released?

A: OData is defined as a set of open extensions/conventions to AtomPub documented and released under the OSP (Open Specification Promise).  

Q: Which Microsoft products support the Open Data Protocol (OData)?

A: There is a growing list of products that implement the Open Data Protocol. Microsoft supports OData in SharePoint Server 2010, Excel 2010 (through SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel), Windows Azure Storage, SQL Server 2008 R2,Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and the .NET Framework.  Microsoft provides client libraries for .NET, Silverlight, AJAX. Support in other Microsoft products is currently underway.  Client libraries are also available for .NET, Silverlight, Windows Phone 7, PHP, AJAX, Javascript, Ruby, Objective C and Java.

Q: How do I create a service that uses the Open Data Protocol (OData)?

A: Since the Open Data Protocol is fully specified, you can implement on any HTTP server using any language. On the .NET Framework, WCF.NET Data Services provides a framework allowing developers to create a OData services in .NET. Likewise in Java there is a server library called OData4J. As noted above, client libraries are available for .NET, Silverlight, Windows Phone 7, PHP, AJAX, Javascript, Ruby, Objective C and Java.

Q: How is the Open Data Protocol (OData) related to AtomPub?

A: OData adds the following to AtomPub:

  • A convention for representing structured data
  • A resource addressing scheme and URL syntax
  • A set of common query options (filter, sort, etc.)
  • Schema describing resource structure, links and metadata
  • Payload formats and semantics for batch and “unit of work” requests
  • Alternate representations of resource content (JSON)

Since OData is based on AtomPub, it is possible for OData clients and services to be written with minimal extra code allowing them to work with AtomPub (and GData) data..

Q:  Will the Open Data Protocol (OData) be standardized? 

A: We are making the OData specification available under Microsoft’s Open Specification Promise (OSP) so third parties, including open source projects, can build Open Data Protocol clients and services. We intend on working with others in the community, including Google, to move the features of OData into future version of AtomPub or other appropriate standards.  We encourage Google (GData) to join us in these conversations.

Q:  How should I think about OData vs. GData

A: There is no OData vs. GData.  Both are based on ATOM and JSON.  Both protocol support our goal of an open data protocol for the Web.  We intend on working with others in the community, including Google, to move the features of OData into future version of AtomPub or other appropriate standards..  We encourage Google (GData) to join us in these conversations.

Q: Where can I learn more about OData?

A: To learn more about OData visit http://odata.org.

 

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