Microsoft announced the new odata.org website at MIX10 this week, continuing their efforts in open standards and interoperability.
Unlocking your Data
OData, the Open Data Protocol, is a protocol from Microsoft for querying and updating data. You may remember hearing "Astoria" Protocol or ADO.NET Data Services Protocol or maybe "our conventions/extensions to AtomPub". All these were other ways OData was referred to at one time or another.
OData is a defined set of open extensions/conventions to AtomPub documented and released under the OSP (Open Specification Promise).
If you are interested in applying open standards to get access to all your data -- and most people are these days -- the OData protocol is one way to do that. It's implemented using platforms that support HTML, JSON and XML.
And there are already a number of Microsoft products using it including SharePoint 2010, Excel 2010, Windows Azure Storage, SQL Server 2008 R2 and a few more.
The new OData.org
The new odata.org website has been created to support the community in their efforts to use the OData protocol. It includes information such as:
- An overview of the protocol and the actual specifications
- Getting Started with OData articles for various platforms and languages
- A set of OData producers to be used for things like testing
- A number of OData consumer tools and technologies
And of course there's the requisite blog, maintained by the Microsoft Data Services team and the usually helpful list of FAQs.
There's a great example of OData in action in a post on Microsoft's Interoperability blog.
Fostering an OData Community
Committed to their desire to foster a real community around the OData protocol, there are also plans in the works for a mailing list and archive and a publically editable wiki.
W3C Says Come on Over
It may be a question of be careful what you say on your blog. On their post announcing the new odata.org website, the team mentions they are looking for ways to engage with organizations like the W3C and IETF to get broader adoption of OData.
Well, the W3C was listening and in a post by Ian Jacobson the W3C blog, Microsoft was encouraged to create an Incubator Group (similar to the Apache Incubator) at the W3C for the OData API. These groups don't produce standards, but they can be used to help move things along the track for recommendation as a standard with the W3C. Curious to see if Microsoft takes the W3C up on that offer.
A Second CTP of "Dallas"
Micosoft also announced a second CTP of their project code-named "Dallas". Dallas is an information marketplace, part of Azure, designed to provide developers with content, including data, imagery and real-time web services, from third party providers through clean, consistent APIs.
There is already a lot of content from vendors in both the business and consumer industries, inlcuding the Associated Press, Data.gov, National Geographic and NASA.
Some of the improvements to CTP 2 include easier geocoding for services, mash-ups of datasets, improved paging and service limit for use with PowerPivot, and new data and services from a number of new and existing providers.