Tech Giants Transfer Open Data Protocol To OASIS

Microsoft has teamed up with IBM and several other tech companies to move the Open Data Protocol, also known as OData, to the OASIS standards body.

As enterprises look for greater access to data across multiple platforms and devices, and cloud computing also playing a part in driving the need for a common approach to expose and consume data, OData represents a key opportunity.

Web Protocol

With that as a backdrop, Citrix Systems, IBM, Microsoft, 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). Citrix, EastBanc Technologies and Viecore FSD, among many others, have recently demonstrated OData applications, and hundreds of interested parties are registered on the open community mail list.

Built on standards such as HTTP, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and AtomPub, OData is a web protocol for unlocking and sharing data – freeing it from silos that exist in some software applications today, Microsoft said in a press release. The OData protocol supports serialisation in multiple popular formats, including JSON and Atom/XML. With OData, developers are able to build cross-platform Web and mobile applications.

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 standardisation.

“The interest in OData has grown exponentially,” said Laurent Liscia, executive director of OASIS, in a statement. “We’re very pleased to see the community come together in OASIS to standardise the OData protocol using the latest Web tools – JSON and AtomPub in a RESTful environment. This will facilitate interoperability across implementations.”

Across Sectors

Moreover, 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 UK citizens following a decision by the government to release Met Office weather information to the public.

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, also in a statement. “Taking steps to standardize OData through OASIS allows developers to act on the data in a more well-defined way.”

OData offers a natural synergy with WSO2’s platform for harnessing data as Web applications and services. The WSO2 platform has strong support for data services and API management, including the WSO2 Data Services Server and the WSO2 API Manager (now in beta). The WSO2 technology stack also already supports many of the core technologies in the OData approach, including AtomPub and JSON.

Is your personal data scattered round the web? Try our privacy quiz.

Darryl K. Taft

Darryl K. Taft covers IBM, big data and a number of other topics for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

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