Devs Blast Microsoft Turnaround on WCF Data Services and OData

Devs Blast Microsoft Turnaround on WCF Data Services and OData

WCF Data Services lets data devs easily build services that use the open OData protocol to expose and consume data over the Web using REST semantics.

Developers today were still weighing in on a recent Microsoft decision to switch directions on OData support to focus on ASP.NET Web API instead of WCF Data Services, angering many who had invested much work into the latter.

OK, this is somewhat involved, but I think it deserves a close look because it touches on so many issues developers have with Microsoft's support of new products and technologies and changes in direction. In this case, data devs in particular.

In a nutshell, Microsoft last week announced it will shift its OData-related development tool efforts from WCF Data Services to ASP.NET Web API, moving WCF Data Services to open source for further development. That angered many frontline developers whose teams or companies have invested a lot of work in WCF Data Services and now feel abandoned. They now have to consider their options and move forward with a new strategy. Sound familiar?

First, to get everybody on the same page regarding terminology, including those readers who might not be data developers, I'll provide brief descriptions of the terms.

WCF Data Services lets data devs easily build services that use the open OData protocol to expose and consume data over the Web using REST semantics.

REST is an architectural style relying on a stateless, cacheable communications protocol, basically HTTP. Instead of using SQL commands, for example, you can get a list of customers from the sample OData Northwind database service's Customers table by sending the URL:

OData is an open, standardized protocol for providing and consuming data APIs using HTTP and REST.

ASP.NET Web API is described by Microsoft as an ideal platform for creating RESTful applications on the Microsoft .NET Framework.

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