WCF Data Services (formerly known as "ADO.NET Data Services") is a component of the .NET Framework that enabling creation of Open Data Protocol (OData) Intranet/Web REST services. OData exposes data as resources that are addressable by URIs.  REST or representational state transfer (REST) is HTTP friendly. Data is accessed and changed by using standard HTTP verbs of GET, PUT, POST, and DELETE. OData uses the entity-relationship conventions of the Entity Data Model to expose resources as sets of entities that are related by associations.

WCF Data Services uses the OData protocol for addressing and updating resources. In this way, you can access these services from any client that supports OData. OData enables you to request and write data to resources by using well-known transfer formats: JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), a text-based data exchange format used extensively in AJAX application, and Atom, a set of standards for exchanging and updating data as XML.

WCF Data Services can expose data that originates from various sources as OData feeds. Visual Studio tools make it easier for you to create an OData-based service by using an ADO.NET Entity Framework data model. You can also create OData feeds based on common language runtime (CLR) classes and even late-bound or un-typed data.

WCF Data Services also provides client libraries to access OData feeds from applications created in Visual Studio that target the following platforms:

These client libraries provide an object-based programming model when you access an OData feed in your application. 

For a comprehensive list of available content that discusses WCF Data Services and OData, see the topic WCF Data Services Content Survey.

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