Salesforce introduced support for Lightning Connect External Objects at Dreamforce ‘14 powered by OData. Salesforce’s Lightning Connect was initially released as an OData 2.0 read-only consumer. And new OData functionality is being added in each release based on demand from data hungry Salesforce applications. At Dreamforce ‘15, I learned about several large organizations running Lightning Connect in production including Intuit, Warranty Group, Farmers Insurance, to name a few.

For my friends in the OData tribe, this is the most interesting OData consumer among SaaS applications and it’s very exciting to track the evolution of its OData support.

#What’s the latest on Lightning Connect OData?

##Summer ‘15

  • Doubled limits across: Maximum HTTP request size for OData (8MB) Maximum HTTP response size for OData (8MB) Maximum OData result set size (16MB)
  • Access Government and Healthcare Data with OData 2.0 endpoints backed by Socrata Open Data Protocol
  • Control Whether to Request Total Row Counts in OData Queries
  • Enable Server-Driven Paging for an External Data Source

##Winter ‘16 (available in sandboxes as of this blog’s publish date)

  • OData 4.0 support
  • Full CRUD support via OData Full OData CRUD support

See Release Notes for complete details

These features represent growing adoption and demand for Lightning Connect, and I’ve worked with many of the organizations driving each one.

#Devzone Recap The devzone is short for “Developer Zone” at Dreamforce ‘15 where developers exchange best practices and code.

###Lightning Connect: Lessons Learned My devzone session was on Lightning Connect: Lessons Learned based on a contribution to the Salesforce Developers site. I was really excited with the turnout and engaging questions from the technical audience. Below is a recap of the Q&A:

Lightning Connect Lessons Learned

  • Can you write back to external objects? This feature is currently in beta, and expected to be released in Winter ‘16.
  • Are there free options to produce OData? The best place to learn more about the OData ecosystem is to visit /ecosystem/
  • How does the feature work with very large resources? When running common use cases for Lightning Connect through DataDirect Cloud OData endpoints, we see operators such as filters being efficiently implemented against the backend data source API resulting in fast and scalable performance. Performance benchmarks are being developed by DataDirect R&D for those interested in specific numbers.

###Lightning Connect roadmap at Progress Software This includes OData production using DataDirect Cloud across the following sources:

  1. Progress Enterprise Data Warehouse
  2. Oracle Marketing Cloud (Eloqua)
  3. Google Analytics
  4. Sumologic Big Data Analytics

###Other noteworthy sessions related to Lightning Connect around the OData Ecosystem include:

#Devzone summary on OData Between Dreamforce ‘14 and ‘15, I have observed a sharp increase in awareness around OData within the Devzone. The OData ecosystem, including DataDirect Cloud is expanding to meet the data demands from the Salesforce platform. And I’m really excited about a presentation we’re working on for Oracle OpenWorld next month that just might multiply that demand from SaaS applications.

#Let’s Talk: Sumit Sarkar, Chief Data Evangelist Progress Software @SAsInSumit