WebApi Default Enable Unqualified Operations and Case-insensitive Uri


OData Layer

OData libraries 7.4.4+ contains updates to improve usability & compatibility of the library by virtue of exposing options that can be set by the caller of the OData core library (ODL). Related to request Uri parsing, the following two simplifications are now available when URI parser is configured properly:

  • As usual, namespace is the primary mechanism for resolving name token conflicts in multiple schema component of the model, therefore namespace is required up to OData v4. To improve flexibility, with notion of Default Namespaces introduced in OData v4.01, namespace qualifier is optional for function or action identifier in request Uri. When corresponding option in ODL Uri parser enabled:

    • If the function or action identifier contains a namespace qualifier, as in all the original cases, Uri parser uses original namespace-qualified semantic to ensure backward compatibility;

    • Otherwise, URI parser will search among the main schema and referenced sub-schemas treated as default namespaces, trying to resolve the unqualified function & action identifier to unique function / action element.

      • Exception will be thrown if no matches are found, or multiple functions or actions of same name are found in different namespaces of the model.

      • Property with same name as unqualified function / action name could cause the token being bound to a property segment unexpectedly. This should be avoided per best design practice in OData protocol: "Service designers should ensure uniqueness of schema children across all default namespaces, and should avoid naming bound functions, actions, or derived types with the same name as a structural or navigation property of the type."

  • In OData v4.01, case-insensitive name resolution is supported for system query options, built-in function and operator names, as well as type names, property names, enum values in form of strings. When corresponding option in ODL Uri parser is enabled, Uri parser first uses case-sensitive semantics as before and returns the result if exact match is found; otherwise, tries case-insensitive semantics, and returns the unique result found or throws exception for ambiguous result such as duplicated items.

    • Most of the case-insensitive support above has been implemented in current ODL version, except for minor bug fixes and case-insensitive support for built-in function, which are addressed as part of this task.

    Note the above options are also combinatorial, with expected behavior for Uri parsing.

    In ODL implementation, the primary support for the two options above is the default ODataUriResolver and its derived classes.

WebApi Layer

WebApi layer utilizes dependency injection to specify various services as options for URI parser. Dependencies can be specified in WebApi layer overriding default values provided by the IServicesProvider container.

With the new default values, WebApi will exhibit different behavior related Uri parsing. The change should be backward compatible (all existing cases should work as it used to be), and previous error cases due to required case-sensitive and namespace qualifier for function should become working cases, hence improving usability of OData stack.


Write Scenario Description

All scenarios are related to OData Uri parsing using default WebAPI settings. All sample scenarios assume no name collisions in EDM model, unless noted otherwise.

Functions: namespace qualified/unqualified

With function defined in the model: builder.EntityType<Customer>().Action("UpdateAddress");

  • Namespace qualified function should work as before:

POST /service/Customers(1)/Default.UpdateAddress()

  • Namespace unqualified function should become a successful case:

POST /service/Customers(1)/UpdateAddress()

Case-Insensitive name resolution:

  • Case-insensitive property name should become resolvable:

    With model: public class InvalidQueryCustomer { public int Id { get; set; } }

    GET /service/InvalidQueryCustomers?$filter=id eq 5 : HTTP 200

    GET /service/InvalidQueryCustomers(5)?$filter=id eq 5 : HTTP 400 “Query options $filter, $orderby, $count, $skip, and $top can be applied only on collections.”

  • Case-insensitive customer uri function name should become resolvable:

    With model having entity type People defined and following customized Uri function:

    FunctionSignatureWithReturnType myFunc

    = new FunctionSignatureWithReturnType(EdmCoreModel.Instance.GetBoolean(true),

    EdmCoreModel.Instance.GetString(true), EdmCoreModel.Instance.GetString(true));

    // Add a custom uri function

    CustomUriFunctions.AddCustomUriFunction("myMixedCasestringfunction", myFunc);

    This should work:

    GET /service/People?$filter=mYMixedCasesTrInGfUnCtIoN(Name,'BlaBla') : HTTP 200

  • Combination of case-insensitive type & property name and unqualified function should become resolvable:

    With controller:


    public ITestActionResult CalculateTotalOrders(int key, int month) {/*…*/}

    Following OData v4 Uris should work:

    GET /service/Customers(1)/Default. CalculateTotalOrders (month=1) : HTTP 200 GET /service/CuStOmErS(1)/CaLcUlAtEToTaLoRdErS (MONTH=1) : HTTP 200

Design Strategy

Dependency Injection of ODataUriResolver

ODL (Microsoft.OData.Core) library supports dependency injection of a collection of service types from client via the IServiceProvider interface. The IServiceProvider can be considered as a container populated with default objects by ODL, while ODL’s client, such as WebApi, can override default objects by injecting customized dependencies.

ODL IContainerBuilder and ContainerBuilderExtensions

The ContainerBuilderExtensions.AddDefaultODataServices(this IContainerBuilder) implementation populates a collection of default OData service objects into the container’s builder. For example, default service of type ODataUriResolver is registered as one instance of ODataUriResolver as follows:

public static IContainerBuilder AddDefaultODataServices(this IContainerBuilder builder)




sp => ODataUriResolver.GetUriResolver(null));



WebAPI dependency injection of customized ODataUriResolver:

  • WebAPI defines the DefaultContainerBuilder implementing the ODL’s IContainerBuilder interface.

  • When root container is created from HttpConfiguration (via the HttpConfigurationExtensions.CreateODataRootContainer), a PerRouteContainer instance will be used to:

    • Create an instance of DefaultContainerBuilder populated with default OData services noted in above;

    • Override the ODL’s default ODataUriResolver service instance in the container builder with WebApi’s new default for UnqualifiedODataUriResover with EnableCaseInsensitive=true.

      protected IContainerBuilder CreateContainerBuilderWithCoreServices()




          // Set Uri resolver to by default enabling unqualified functions/actions and case insensitive match.




              sp => new UnqualifiedODataUriResolver {EnableCaseInsensitive = true});

          return builder;


    • WebAPI client (per service) can further inject other dependencies (for example, typically, adding the EDM model) through the’configureAction’ argument of the following method from HttpConfigurationExtensions:

      internal static IServiceProvider CreateODataRootContainer(this HttpConfiguration configuration, string routeName, Action<IContainerBuilder> configureAction)

ODataUriParser configuration with injected ODataUriResolver dependency

When WebApi parses the request Uri, instance of ODataDefaultPathHandler is created with associated service provider container, which is further used to create ODataUriParser with injected dependency of ODataUriResolver.

public ODataUriParser(IEdmModel model, Uri relativeUri, IServiceProvider container)

Enable Case-Insensitive for Custom Uri function

One issue is encountered when trying to bind function call token with case-insensitive enabled. The reason is that at the very beginning of the function BindAsUriFunction() the name token, when case-insensitive is enabled, is coerced to lower case (as shown below), which is valid for build-in function (such as ‘startswith’ and ‘geo.distance’, etc), but might not be valid for custom uri functions.

private QueryNode BindAsUriFunction(FunctionCallToken functionCallToken, List<QueryNode> argumentNodes)


    if (functionCallToken.Source != null)


        // the parent must be null for a Uri function.

        throw new ODataException(ODataErrorStrings.FunctionCallBinder_UriFunctionMustHaveHaveNullParent(functionCallToken.Name));


    string functionCallTokenName = this.state.Configuration.EnableCaseInsensitiveUriFunctionIdentifier ? functionCallToken.Name.ToLowerInvariant() : functionCallToken.Name;

To implement with the correct behavior for enabled case-insensitive:

  • GetUriFunctionSignatures needs to additionally return signatures associated with function names in a dictionary instance.

  • When resolving best match function based on arguments for the invoked function, MatchSignatureToUriFunction will find the best match. Exception is still thrown in case of ambiguity or no matches found.

Work Items