• Justice N.

How to easily exchange data between applications with ODATA

What Is OData

It is a useful resource for building and consuming RESTful APIs. OData makes things simple and easy for you by allowing you to focus on business logic, and it builds RESTful APIs for you. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about approaches to status codes; define request, and response headers, URL conventions, HTTP methods, query options, and payload types.

It’s a handy tool because it helps track changes, define actions for reusable procedures, and send batch requests. More importantly, RESTful APIs created by OData are easy to consume. Moreover, OData metadata help in the creation of powerful generic client tools and proxies. Read this article to the end, and you’ll find lots of information about OData.

Reference: https://www.odata.org/getting-started/understand-odata-in-6-steps/

Why OData?

It’s not easy to combine data from web browsers, mobile applications, and business intelligence tools. This monumental task discourages organizations from serious application development. OData takes data from these disparate sources and facilitates high-level and simple connectivity.

Moreover, these standards improve the efficiency of everything, including cloud storage and content management. OData is a standardized REST interface. Therefore, when OData comes to your mind, you also consider REST/JSON. As a result, you can use OData whether you’re programming in iOS, Android, or Salesforce Connect.

Reference: https://www.progress.com/blogs/what-odata-is-and-why-you-need-it

What Is OData Used for?

  • It’s not easy to share data between unconnected systems, but OData makes it easier and smoother. Using OData APIs, you can share data from one application to another.

  • It removes data siloes, and you can merge different sources into a single view.

  • OData efficiently works with many tools, such as CRMS, Business Intelligence (BI) System, and in little programming as well.

  • It can help set up spreadsheets, dashboards, and reports.

  • It provides dynamic results because the data is frequently and automatically queried.

Reference: https://www.thinkautomation.com/eli5/what-is-odata-an-overview-in-500-words-or-less/

The problem That OData Is Trying to Solve

OData is a useful tool and solves many problems:

1. The development team can easily learn it

APIs are on the rise, and organizations use their own query languages such as ROQL and SOQL, etc. It becomes challenging for the development team to learn the coding of these different APIs. Here starts the role of OData. It’s a standard tool for various formats like JSON, HTTP, and ATOM. It simplifies the coding and makes it easier for the development team to learn.

2. Compliant with standards

Many other tools aren’t compliant with internet standards. In contrast, OData is compliant with these standards. Therefore, it’s used by many well-known companies.

Reference: https://www.progress.com/blogs/odata-faqs-why-should-rest-api-developers-use-odata

Advantages of Using OData

  • It is based on the REST architecture. Therefore, it can help retrieve data based on URL.

  • OData supports different formats, such as Atom Pub, HTTP, and JSON.

  • It’s lightweight to use because it doesn’t require the creation of a proxy service object.

  • OData supports almost any type of data resource. So, you can use a custom class as a data source.

  • It allows you to create your own custom methods.

  • As mentioned earlier, it’s lightweight, so the interaction between client and server will be fast and efficient. Therefore, the overall performance will be excellent.

  • When you use the WCF Data service, it can help you expose an entity model via URI.

  • Any client such as Windows, Web, SilverLight, console, and AJAX can consume a WCF data service.

  • By using different HTTP methods, you can get full CRUD support.

Some examples of HTTP methods are:

1. GET: Gets one or multiple entries

2. POST: Creation of a new entry

3. PUT: Updating existing entry

4. DELETE: For removing any entry

These advantages encourage developers to use OData.

Reference: https://sandippatilprogrammer.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/what-is-odata-advantages-and-disadvantages/

Challenges of Using OData

  • It doesn’t offer a virtual contract, and the users don’t know how to use this service. For example, what are coding expectations, valid command arguments, etc.?

  • It has a liberal interface.

  • The contract lacks information, and users don’t get enough information about using this service.

  • As it doesn’t provide enough information, before consuming this Web service, users must have an idea of database and table structures. Therefore, there is always a tight coupling between consumers and service providers.

  • Unnecessary complexity poses another challenge for users.

  • There will be lots of dependency on encoding/decoding and late binding between the boundaries within the same service. As a result, the performance will suffer.

Reference: https://docs.servicestack.net/why-not-odata

Why OData Isn't So Popular?

It’s not popular because it requires excessive requests. It relies on “Old API Pattern” and binds communication logic, so you have to create additional requests and it will result in additional I/O overhead.

The best alternative is the API Chaining methodology, and you don’t have to rely on the server for creating the chained call through the old methodology. A new API pattern can help abstract the communication logic from the business logic, and you can use the redirect method instead of adding new requests.

Reference: https://www.quora.com/Why-isnt-OData-as-popular-as-GraphQL

Final Words

OData is a powerful developer tool and offers many advantages to developers. When you decide to use it, ensure that you know its limitations and challenges.

for comparison with other protocols see articles below: https://www.progress.com/blogs/rest-api-industry-debate-odata-vs-graphql-vs-ords



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