Exposing a queryable api with Odata

May 01, 2019

tl;dr: Odata provides a nice, conventional, powerful and easy-to-setup api. This post is a walk-through to expose a readonly model.

We will

  1. Initialize a new web api project
  2. Add Odata for ASP.NET Core and also Microsofts api versioning library
  3. In the Startup.cs class configure services and the middleware pipeline to enable Odata
  4. Add a sample model and Odata controller
  5. Implement IModelConfiguration to configure the Odata model
  6. Execute some queries against the Odata controller

The resulting source code is available on github:

git clone https://github.com/jannikbuschke/pragmatic-cqrs-with-asp-net-core-for-spas


This is the first post of a mini series about creating an opinionated ASP.NET Core api with the help of Odata (among others).

Odata is a conventional restful api, meaning that some query operations like top, skip, select, order by and filter (typical sql-like operations) are standardized as part of the api. Odata also provides conventions for commands (if we think in terms of CQRS), which I will leave out, as in my experience this part is overly complex to use and the normal webapi is powerful and easily adjusted/modified to provide custom conventions.

This post is a walk-through to setup a simple queryable (readonly) api which in my opinion gives the most "bang for your buck".

Pragmatic CQRS with ASP.NET Core and SPAs - Series overview

  1. ▶️ Expose a queryable api with Odata
  2. Enhance ASP.NET Core api controllers with Odata
  3. Expose ASP.NET Core validation for clients
  4. CQRS with MediatR (Commands) and Odata (Queries)

Project setup

Lets create our project and add Odata as well as mvc- and odata-versioning.

dotnet new webapi --name MyApp
cd MyApp
dotnet package add Microsoft.AspNetCore.Odata
dotnet package add Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Versioning
dotnet package add Microsoft.AspNetCore.OData.Versioning

Our .csproj file now should look something like this:

<Project Sdk="Microsoft.NET.Sdk.Web">
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.App" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Odata" Version="7.1.0" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Versioning" Version="3.1.2" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.OData.Versioning" Version="3.1.0" />
<PackageReference Include="Microsoft.AspNetCore.Razor.Design" Version="2.2.0" PrivateAssets="All" />

Add Odata and ApiVersioning services in the ConfigureServices method (Startup.cs):

public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
services.AddMvcCore(options =>
options.EnableEndpointRouting = false;

Also add Odata routes in the Configure method (Startup.cs). The Configure method needs a VersionedODataModelBuilder as an an additional parameter:

public void Configure(
IApplicationBuilder app,
IHostingEnvironment env,
VersionedODataModelBuilder modelBuilder
if (env.IsDevelopment())
app.UseMvc(builder =>
builder.MapVersionedODataRoutes("odata", "odata", modelBuilder.GetEdmModels());

Adding a Model, Configuration and Controller

Next create a model (Person.cs):

public class Person
public Guid Id { get; set; }
public string FirstName { get; set; }
public string LastName { get; set; }

and the Odata configuration (OdataModelConfigurations.cs)

public class OdataModelConfigurations : IModelConfiguration
public void Apply(ODataModelBuilder builder, ApiVersion apiVersion)

Finally let`s create a controller with sample data created on the fly (PersonsController.cs):

public class PersonsController : ODataController
public IQueryable<Person> Get()
return new string[]
{ "Alice", "Bob", "Chloe", "Dorothy", "Emma", "Fabian", "Garry", "Hannah", "Julian" }
.Select(v => new Person { FirstName = v, Id = Guid.NewGuid(), Age = new Random().Next(80) })

If you have experience with Entity Framework Core you could just return a DbSet<T> (or DbQuery<T>) property of your DbContext implementation in above Get() method.

Run and test

Now that we have a controller we can run the project and execute queries in a browser:

dotnet run

open https://localhost:5001/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0 in a browser (or http://localhost:5000/...).

You should get the full resultset in json format.

Some parameters that can be tried now:

/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0&$top=5 // first page with pagesize 5
/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0&$top=5&$skip=5 // second page
/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0&$orderby=age // order by age ascending (young to old)
/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0&$orderby=age desc // order by age descending
/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0&$filter=startswith(firstName,'G') // only show Persons who's first name starts with 'G'
/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0&$filter=contains(firstName,'e') // only show Persons who's first name contains an 'e'
/odata/Persons?api-version=1.0&$filter=age gt 20 and age lt 50 // only show Persons older than 20 and younger than 50