Microsoft, IBM, SAP and others have moved to make the Microsoft-derived Open Data Protocol an official international standard.
The Open Data Protocol (OData) is used for data-sharing, which makes it an obvious candidate for standardisation. On Thursday, Microsoft, IBM, Citrix, Progress Software, SAP and WSO2 proposed standardising OData by setting up a technical committee within the standards development body OASIS.
"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," Microsoft Open Technologies president Jean Paoli said in a statement. "Taking steps to standardise OData through OASIS allows developers to act on the data in a more well-defined way."
Microsoft is contributing seven specification components under its 'Open Specification Promise', while IBM, Microsoft and SAP will also contribute four extension proposals.
"The interest in OData has grown exponentially," OASIS executive director Laurent Liscia said 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."
OData is indeed widely used. The UK's Met Office uses it to share weather information with the public, and SAP links its Business Suite software to clients on a variety of platforms through an implementation of the protocol in its NetWeaver Gateway technology.
Microsoft supports OData for SharePoint lists, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Windows Azure Marketplace, as does IBM for WebSphere eXtreme Scale, DB2 and Informix.
The move to standardise OData within OASIS marks a dramatic shift from the situation six years ago, when Microsoft and IBM were at each other's throats over two other standards.
At the time, IBM was backing Sun's OpenDocument Format (ODF), which is used in OpenOffice and was developed within OASIS — with Microsoft's participation. However, Microsoft was pushing its rival Open XML (OXML) format, which is used in Microsoft Office, to be the open standard for documents.
In the end, Microsoft added ODF support to Office, after it became widely used in the public sector.