This week we had our first OData meetup hosted by Microsoft. People representing 20+ companies came together to learn from other attendees’ experiences, chatted about everything OData, and enjoyed the food, beverages and awesome weather (no, really!) in Redmond.

We had some great presentations

  • Mike Pizzo had fun stories on the Evolution of OData. He talked about the open design approach that the OData team adopted from the very beginning and how it helped to bring the community on board. He concluded that OData design has benefited greatly from broad community participation.
  • Pablo Castro and Alex James covered the new features that are coming as part of OData v3. OData v3 has ton of features that augment the RESTful story for OData. Features like vocabularies and functions provide the necessary extension points that enable implementers to go beyond what is offered in the core implementation and still be able to play within the OData ecosystem.
  • Ralf Handl from SAP talked about how OData helped them achieve the vision for ‘Open Data’ – Any Environment, Any Platform, Any Experience. In later talks by SAP they showed some of their products that are powered by OData. In addition to the OData feeds they publish, they demonstrated client tools that enable developers to easily consume SAP OData feeds on the platform of their choice.
  • Dana Gutride from Citrix walked through their experience of enabling OData in some of their products. OData’s standards-based approach, capabilities like type safety, and ease of access made it an obvious choice for their product.
  • Webnodes presented how they integrated OData into their CMS system
  • Eastbanc Technologies talked about their metropolitan transit visualization tool
  • Viecore’s demoed its advanced decision support and control systems for the U.S. military
  • APIgee’s Anant Jhingran gave more of a Zen talk; Anant hit few themes that are worth mentioning
    • If Data isn’t your core business, then you should give it away
    • Opportunity for OData community is immense – question is whether we’ll grab it
    • Data as an information halo surrounding core business is the OData opportunity
  • Pablo Castro gave another talk titled ‘OData: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’, which focused on what things Microsoft has done right and wrong in implementing their OData stack (beer was served during this talk to ensure these points do not last long in people’s memory)

The first day ended with a delicious dinner at the Spitfire restaurant in Redmond.

On the second day of the meetup we used Open Space format ( to encourage loosely-structured discussion. Through Arlo Belshee’s awesome coordination, we put together by the end of the first hour an exciting agenda for the rest of the day.

Some of the conversations that happened and themes that emerged:

  • The topic of vocabularies sparked a great discussion, in which we were trying to decide what tools and communications media would best help groups create vocabularies and then advertise them to others. We also talked about whether there were vocabularies that were central enough to warrant definition by the OData community as a whole.
  • SAP led a discussion exploring ways to model Analytical data (cubes) in OData, and meetup attendees had many good suggestions.
  • There was a lot of talk about open source, ODataLib, and a shared query processor. Some people talked about porting ODataLib to other languages. Others discussed getting improvements folded back into existing projects, such as OData4J. We had several conversations about a query processor, and what form it could take. We even got into some architectural discussion about potential programming APIs.
  • · We heard repeatedly that there isn’t enough marketing of OData to CIOs and other decision makers, and we discussed different ways to improve the website to make it more useful for the community.
  • JSON Light came up several times. We kicked the tires around some of the current thinking and explored how that would interact with peoples’ existing implementations.

The two days were both educational and fun-filled, and they showed how big the OData community has grown in recent years. There was a strong interest from the attendees to do more of these community-driven events.

Asad Khan