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Trade Talk Blog

Welcome to the official blog of Trading Technologies, your source for professional futures trading software.

The Pace of Innovation at TT

This post probably isn’t what you think it is. This is not a story about how innovative TT has been over recent years or a recollection of the countless examples of cutting-edge software we’ve been delivering. Yes, we’ve released some great apps over the last half decade, truly innovative ones at that. Since this past Spring alone, we’ve launched our low-latency TT API, staged order functionality, and ADL™, to name a few, and with products like MultiBroker ASP on the horizon, there’s more to come. And we shouldn’t underestimate the tremendous amount of effort and expertise that’s been put toward making our platform the industry’s most stable and reliable—work that is critical but not always obvious.

Can Any Trader Learn to Code?

Back in 2010, Wired columnist Clive Thompson argued that it’s time for all of us—not just software engineers—to learn how to program software1. It’s been nearly two years since that article was written, but I believe it’s still as relevant today as it was then.

As the product manager responsible for TT’s ADL™ visual programming platform, people often ask me if I think traders can learn to code. I tell them, not only can any trader learn to code, but most traders are already engaged in the mental process of writing a program, whether they know it or not.

As an example, consider a successful point-and-click trader who has a rock-star track record. This trader must know his strategy inside-out and execute it with precision. To be specific, he must have the “pathways” of his strategy mapped out, and, if needed, he should be able to articulate them in an organized and systematic manner.

What makes this trader exceptional, however, is not only the fact that his strategy map depicts the main pathways of logic, but that it also covers the inconspicuous “alleys” or contingencies that can arise in the market. The most successful traders consider the “what ifs” and are prepared with maneuvers to deal with such contingencies.


Order Staging for the Buy Side

By way of introduction, my role at TT has involved me in a number of strategic initiatives including proximity trading, synthetic orders, Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Most recently I’ve been holding discussions with a variety of firms to further enhance the capabilities of our system for buy-side traders and portfolio managers. In this role, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with some key players in the buy-side community.

Of course, the term “buy side” itself refers to a fairly wide swath of business models, ranging from asset managers to hedge funds. But despite the breadth of the buy side as a whole, a growing number of buy-side users is demanding the option of a high-touch capability in a world otherwise driven toward low-latency, low-touch trading.

All the World’s a Stage

Staged Orders in X_TRADER®

Order staging, which involves the creation of staged or “care” orders, is in some ways an idea that’s as old as agency trading itself. Although they weren’t called care orders at first, care orders started as a voice call to a sell-side trader over telephones and squawk boxes. As technology marched forward, the vehicles for submitting care orders evolved to include faxes, followed by emails and instant messages.



Every time I meet with customers I ask them the same question: “Why do you use X_TRADER?” Some sample responses:

“Because of your spreader.”
“It’s the most reliable system I’ve ever used.”
“Your automated trading is second to none.”
“You do spread charts the right way.”
“It’s flexible. I can configure it the way I like.”

This is a biased sample, of course, since the traders I ask are already using X_TRADER. But the answers are revealing. And there is a strong underlying theme to the replies.They use X_TRADER every day for one simple reason: Because it is very good at what it is supposed to do.

Forgive me if this sounds like boasting, but, hey, I’m just reporting what I hear as the X_TRADER product manager. And after all, this is a TT-sponsored product blog. 🙂