OData Primer

OData is a standard for constructing APIs that follow a RESTful pattern. In this pattern data (resources) are identified by URLs. When resources are retrieved they may contain links to other resources which are explicitly represented by the URLs of those resources. New resources can be created by POSTing information and existing resources can be updated using the HTTP methods PUT and PATCH.

This standard was chosen as the basis of these APIs as it provides a simple way to map database tables and the records they contain into a web-service. In fact, OData is sometimes referred to as ‘SQL over the web’. Database tables map on to the OData concept of a feed (inherited from the Atom standard), records map on to entities and the values within the records map on to the property values of the entities. Each record in the database that is exposed through OData therefore has a corresponding entity in the OData API with a corresponding URL that can be used to retrieve it.

For more information about how to construct OData URLs see OData: URI Conventions

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I access OData feeds directly in Excel?


The Results OData API can be used directly from the PowerPivot Excel plugin but the Delivery OData API uses a newer version of the protocol and cannot be used with PowerPivot. Newer versions of Excel do however contain support for importing data directly into your worksheet. For more information see Connect external data to your workbook

Why am I getting the error Unrecognized ‘Edm.Int32’ literal?

The following URL path returns an error like this:

/deliveryodata/12345/Results?$filter=AssessmentID eq 1234567890123

The reason is that the integer 1234567890123 is too large to be represented as a 32-bit integer. The largest 32-bit integer is 2147483647. The real issue is that the AssessmentID property is of type Edm.Int64, a 64-bit integer, and values of this type require the ‘L’ suffix as follows:

/deliveryodata/12345/Results?$filter=AssessmentID eq 1234567890123L
Why is my WCF DataService not loading expanded properties?

Users of the WCF client will need to set the MergeOption to OverwriteChanges as per the reply to this question on StackOverflow. See Why is my WCF DataService not loading expanded properties?

Failure to do this may cause unexpected failures when loading entities from the OData service.