Open Data for the Open Web

Posted by Douglas Purdy

Software Architect

Today at MIX10, Microsoft’s conference for Web developers and designers in Las Vegas, I stood on stage to outline the importance of Web APIs and our commitment to open data for the open Web .  We recently announced The Open Data Protocol (OData) – a set of conventions over the existing Atom Publishing Protocol  (AtomPub) standard.  OData provides a way to unlock and share your data, freeing it from silos that exist in some software applications today.

At the same time, we released OData under the Open Specification Promise (OSP) to allow anyone to freely interoperate with OData implementations, and to start a conversation with the community about rolling the features of the protocol into AtomPub or other appropriate standards, and to see how we can work together to build an ecosystem of open data services.

Many of us at Microsoft believe the OData protocol can help usher in a more open and programmable Web by creating a common funnel to expose rich data, thereby creating a world of customized consumer mash-ups; a world where government data is transparent and accessible to any citizen; a world where you can ask a question and know, “There’s a feed for that.”

In the last few months, we’ve begun to see  excitement and creativity build around OData – and an impressive list of OData producers/consumers coming online.  One example stems from the 2010 Winter Olympics, where developers created an application built on Windows Azure using an Open Data cataloguefrom the City of Vancouver.  Through Bing maps, Facebook and data feeds, OData translated raw data into interactive applications designed to help visitors and citizens find parking, events and services and to connect socially with peers.

 

We’ve also been working hard to get OData support on as many platforms as we can, so a developer on any platform – Microsoft and non-Microsoft platforms – can both consume and produce these feeds.

This brings us to today, where I’m at MIX to support our announcement of the OData software development kit (SDK), a set of libraries for  PHP, Java, JavaScript, webOS, .NET and iPhone.   I just demoed  a number of different experiences on a variety of device using the Netflix Catalog API, where the OData interface made it easier for a software developer to bring Netflix’s real-time movie offerings to the customer.

We recognize that it will “take a village,” so-to-speak, to ensure that open data for the open Web becomes a reality.  We are encouraging organizations to make their data available as appropriate through OData and to begin unleashing the power of that data through the newly available SDKs.  We are inviting the community and industry to join the conversation, to provide their feedback, and to help determine how to best move the features of OData forward. To join the conversation, please visit www.odata.org.

 

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