OData is a standardized protocol for creating and consuming data APIs. In a similar way to how web services and later REST provided an HTTP accessible standard for invoking distributed functions or APIs, OData provides a similar model for access data feeds.
Microsoft has embraced the OData protocol in multiple scenarios across multiple products.
- Support for OData querying using the SharePoint REST APIs
- Pulling in OData feeds through Excel PowerPivot and PowerQuery
- Creating custom OData clients using Visual Studio
- Creating custom OData services using Visual Studio
- Support for OData as a query language in Windows Azure Table Storage and Azure SQL
- Support for external OData feeds through the Windows Azure Marketplace
- Support for publishing OData data sources from Lightswitch
- Support for consuming OData feeds from Lightswitch
OData is a critical part of Microsoft’s data strategy and its support for open standards. Microsoft has submitted the OData standard to OASIS so that it can be managed as an open standard. There are unfortunately not very many vendors using OData as a standard – SAP is one of the few enterprise vendors supporting the standard. Hopefully as OData moves into the OASIS family it will be adopted by other vendors so that it can be used more broadly than just within the Microsoft eco-system.