As you might have heard Microsoft has announced @MIX conference a new protocol for data sharing and exposure in a RESTful manner. It is called Open Data Protocol (OData for short), published under Microsoft Open Specification Promise (OSP),  and in case you need more information just visit the official www.odata.org web site. Official description of the protocol is as follows:

“The Open Data Protocol (OData) provides a way to unlock your data and free it from silos that exist in applications today, making it easy for data to be shared in a manner that follows the philosophy of Open Data. OData enables a new level of data integration and interoperability across a broad range of clients, servers, services, and tools.”

The nice part of the new protocol is that it is gaining wide adoption and Microsoft teams have also included support into the following applications: SharePoint 2010, Windows Azure Tables, SQL Azure and SQL Server Reporting Services. For additional producers, also from other vendors, check this site.

Even nicer part is how easy it is to expose your SQL Azure database via OData. What you need is, of course, SQL Azure database account (for exposing data) and then you can sign-up on the www.sqlazurelabs.com site to “enable one checkbox”…

SQLAzureOData 

And voila, your data is exposed as OData, and all the URI querying fun can begin:

Odata