May 24, 2012
Market demand is growing for easy access to data across multiple platforms and devices. The move to cloud computing is increasing pressure to create a more open and programmable Web by having a common approach to expose and consume data.
Based on that demand, Citrix Systems Inc., IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Progress Software, SAP AG and WSO2 are proposing an Open Data Protocol (OData) Technical Committee (TC) in the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), an international open standards consortium. Citrix, EastBanc Technologies and Viecore FSD, among many others, have recently demonstrated OData applications, and hundreds of interested parties are registered on the http://www.odata.org open community mail list.
Built on standards such as HTTP, JSON and AtomPub, OData is a 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.
Since its introduction, OData has reached into all sectors — from enterprise to consumer, from government to internal systems.
One example is SAP NetWeaver® Gateway technology, which exposes SAP® Business Suite software to clients on diverse platforms through OData. In addition, Microsoft customers can use OData to access SharePoint lists, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Windows Azure Marketplace – DataMarket, to name a few. Furthermore, IBM offerings such as WebSphere eXtreme Scale, DB2 and Informix also support OData.
OData is helping transform Open Government initiatives to publish government data for public use. For example, the cities of Regina and Medicine Hat in Canada and the National Government of Colombia have launched open data catalogues using the OData protocol. OData is also making access to data easier for U.K. citizens following a decision by the government to release Met Office weather information to the public.
At a recent two-day OData meetup, customers shared their experiences using OData. Citrix representatives spoke on using OData to power mobile work styles. EastBanc Technologies employees shared how they built a metropolitan transit visualization tool around OData. Representatives from Viecore described how they used OData to build advanced decision support and control systems for the U.S. military, citing their ability to rapidly iterate on application designs and requirements based on OData’s flexibility and loose client and server coupling.
OData Ecosystem Built by Producers and Consumers
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.
“The interest in OData has grown exponentially,” said Laurent Liscia, executive director, OASIS. “We’re very pleased to see the community come together in OASIS to standardize the OData protocol using the latest Web tools — JSON and AtomPub in a RESTful environment. This will facilitate interoperability across implementations.”
to the OASIS OData TC
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.
Support for OData Standardization
“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.”
“Eliminating barriers in how data is accessed and shared is increasingly important for enterprise growth. IBM has a long history of supporting open standards and, especially, open standards for data access,” said Angel Diaz, vice president, Software Standards, IBM. “The movement of the OData specification into OASIS gives the standards community the ability to partner and help deliver pragmatic improvements for today’s enterprise data access requirements.”
“The OData protocol provides a standard mechanism for consuming enterprise data with a wide range of end-user experiences, devices and platforms via SAP NetWeaver Gateway,” said Reiner Hammerich, senior vice president, Product Architecture, SAP. “As a contributor to the OData specifications, SAP will work with OASIS on further standardization and broader adoption of the protocol.”
“OData is an excellent protocol for the Citrix system software. OData has already been implemented in one new product, and others are in progress,” said Martin Duursma, vice president, Citrix Labs, and chief technology officer, Office Chair. “The rich set of OData filters, data types and extensible functions more than meet the requirements of our products and enable us to develop services with the high levels of data integration and cross-platform interoperability that are required by our business.”
“As the leading global provider of data connectivity to independent software vendors and enterprises alike, Progress DataDirect’s core mission is to provide standards-based connectivity to any on-premises or cloud data source, from any application or device,” said Michael Benedict, vice president, Product Management at Progress Software. “We believe the OData standards will drive industrywide consensus and adoption of the next generation of data accessibility and action.”
“At WSO2, we have seen strong customer demand for OData and its lean, REST-based approach to data access, which is important to us and our customers,” said Paul Fremantle, co-founder and chief technology officer, WSO2. “OData richly complements our burgeoning efforts around data services, API management, JSON and AtomPub, and the move toward standardization at OASIS will only enhance that synergy.”
More information about OData is available at http://www.odata.org.
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IT professionals looking for more information on how IBM technologies integrate with OData can visit IBM developerWorks.