In its latest move to help support its data platform vision for the new world of data, Microsoft has joined Citrix, IBM, Progress Software, SAP and WSO2 in jointly submitting a proposal to standardize the Open Data Protocol (OData, a REST-based open data access protocol) to OASIS, an international open standards consortium.
For those new, "Built on standards such as HTTP, JSON and AtomPub, OData is a REST-based web protocol for unlocking and sharing data -- freeing it from silos that exist in some software applications today. The OData protocol supports serialization in multiple popular formats, including JSON and Atom/XML."
With OData, developers are able to build cross-platform Web and mobile applications. Many developer tools already offer OData support. Here are a few examples:
- Microsoft Visual Studio offers comprehensive OData support through WCF Data Services.
- OData support is provided by OSS SDKs for iPhone, Android, and other frameworks.
- Telerik has developed a variety of developer tools and services for creating OData consumers and producers.
- ComponentOne offers OData support in their BarChart and LineChart controls.
- Validation is a critical step in creating robust OData services, and the Outercurve Foundation provides an OData Service Validation Tool that can be used to test implementations against the OData spec.
- The OData4j project is an open-source toolkit to help Java developers add OData support to their applications and services.
While Microsoft has supported OData in many of its products and services, including: Excel (via the free PowerPivot add-in), SharePoint, SQL Server Reporting Services, Dynamics CRM, Windows Server, and Windows Azure, Windows Azure Marketplace, and ACS Management Service, this formal standardization of OData will enable an even broader set of developers to drive broader adoption and influence the standard's development.
The OData protocol has evolved through an open process on the public OData site during the past three years. There is a strong ecosystem of OData producers, consumers and libraries -- several of them open source -- including Java, PHP, Drupal, Joomla, Node.js, Microsoft .NET, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, DB2 and Informix, iOS, Windows Phone 7, and Android. Community feedback and broad implementation experience have influenced development of the OData specifications, which will be contributed to the OASIS OData TC for standardization.
Microsoft will be contributing seven OData specification components, currently under the Microsoft Open Specification Promise, to the OASIS OData TC. IBM, Microsoft and SAP will also contribute four OData extension proposals.
"To accomplish the goal of open data for the open Web, we have seen a push for support to enable access to and use of data across platforms, applications and devices," said Jean Paoli, president, Microsoft Open Technologies Inc. "Taking steps to standardize OData through OASIS allows developers to act on the data in a more well-defined way."