Automation of existing software platforms: Part 3

Customization of existing trading platforms is a vital process within any brokerage firm. However, continued configuration changes can make systems more fragile, and upgrades more complex. This blog takes a more detailed look at the issue of layering customizations, and introduces an extra software approach which may reduce this issue considerably.

The idea of customization is logical. If I want to upgrade my car, I can’t go to my car dealer and say, “Hey, I want to upgrade my car. I don’t want to buy a new one. I want to change this and that.” To have that kind of freedom, I have to do the customization myself. In trading room software however, if the software is provided as a hosted service, this level of tweaking is not possible by a customer. Let’s look more closely at the problem.

Customization by changing software parameters has long been used as the basis for most simple workflow changes that are available in today’s trading rooms. But there is a catch. For every configuration parameter you add, you also add time taken to test and upgrade the code in the future. This is what makes the more sophisticated trading platforms so powerful, as they already have many of these parameters baked into the code. However, this solution still only works if the software has a parameter already set up for the workflow that you need. What clients would like to do is add new code of their own to the platform, and make it perform differently, or take an additional step.

At Fidessa, we have used Java plug-ins to overcome this problem. As Java allows the ability to “hot load” new code into a system that is already running. This allows new workflow code to be introduced and removed while a system is operating. Testing this is a great feature. If you do not like the workflow you have added, you can simply remove it. Grouping these additional code entries into a project allows entire projects to be switched on and off.

This new functionality has been used in the development of a new automation framework that has already been used within the Fidessa platform to automate IOIs and other manual tasks. If you would like to know more about the automation engine, get in touch.

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If you’d like to learn more about how Fidessa platforms are built and designed, then please get in touch.