The Open Data Protocol (OData) is used today by Microsoft as a way to query and update web data. It’s a protocol that could soon find much broader use as it heads toward standardization at the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS).
One of the groups that is backing the OASIS standardization of OData is open source middleware vendor WS02. While WS02 is not currently integrating OData into its open source middleware, CTO Paul Freemantle sees the promise in the protocol as a way to extend existing capabilities.
Freemantle explained to InternetNews.com that WS02 today uses the Atom Publishing Protocol AtomPub). OData extends AtomPub with some query capabilities in a standardized way. He noted that AtomPub lets developers get and update data in a very RESTful way.
“The thing that you also get from OData on top of AtomPub are query capabilities so a standardized URL syntax that for example can let you restrict a query to certain things,” Freemantle said. “It also has the ability to understand a little bit better, what the columns and values are in data.”
Another benefit of OData is that it has both an XML and a JSON binding that is done in a RESTful manner.
“OData has the right balance of power and simplicity and I expect to see a lot of uses come out of it very quickly,” Freemantle said.
Microsoft and the open source community have not always been the best of friends. When it comes to OData, Freemantle’s view is that Microsoft deserves some credit.
“One of the things I think they’ve done well is that they set up an open community website for OData,” Freemantle said. “There was a time when all the big vendors would just huddle in secret and then talk to the W3C or OASIS and say, this is what we want and then rubber stamp that as a standard.”
In contrast, Freemantle noted that what Microsoft has done with OData is a very open process and they really tried to create a community around it as well.