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Microsoft's OData Proposed as OASIS Standard

Microsoft and other software companies announced last week that they want the Open Data Protocol (OData) to become an international industry standard.

OData is a REST-based Web protocol for sharing data that's currently used in various software products. Formerly code-named "Astoria" by Microsoft, OData is described as Microsoft's interpretation of the REST and AtomPub protocols as used via Windows Communication Foundation Data Services, according to a presentation by Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft principal program manager.

Last week, Microsoft -- along with Citrix, IBM, Progress Software, SAP and WSO2 -- proposed the creation of an OData Technical Committee at the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS). As part of that effort, Microsoft will contribute seven components to the OData specification under its Open Specification Promise, which is a technical assets sharing program for developers. In addition, four extensions to the OData specification will be contributed by Microsoft, IBM and SAP, according to Microsoft's announcement.

OData is used by "consumers," which are defined as software programs on the client side, as well as "producers," which represent software programs on the server side. The client-server interactions are transmitted via JSON or Atom syntax over HTTP. On the consumer side, Microsoft Excel and the PowerPivot add-in use OData. Microsoft server-side products that use OData include Windows Server, Windows Azure, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SharePoint and SQL Server Reporting Services, according to Doug Mahugh, a senior technical evangelist for Microsoft Open Technologies Inc., in a blog post. Microsoft Open Technologies is a recently formed subsidiary at Microsoft that addresses open source software interoperability issues.

Various OData libraries have been created for the client side, including for Android, iOS, Java, JavaScript, Ruby and .NET libraries, according to an OData.org description. There's also an OData producer library for PHP.

Software products that use OData include open source Drupal, Joomla and MySQL, as well as IBM's DB2 and Informix, plus various SAP products. OData is also supported by some governmental organizations as a way of serving up data to the public. A list of companies and organizations that support OData is provided in a blog post by Chris Woodruff, a Microsoft MVP.

Mahugh indicated that the call to create the new Technical Committee at OASIS will start in "late July." The aim is to "open up data sources in a standardized way," he explained. The participating organizations involved on the OASIS Technical Committee will use the current OData version 3 specification, plus extensions, an OData blog explains.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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