Moving legacy SDPs to HTML5 (in stages)

Given the ubiquitous ‘write once, deploy anywhere’ nature of HTML5, it’s not surprising that almost all new Single-Dealer Platforms (SDPs) are being written in HTML5.

The trend started a while back, and in his 2013 white paper, HTML5 in 2013: Where Next? (2nd one in the list), Patrick Myles, Caplin CTO identified three key reasons why everyone was moving to HTML5:

  • The move to cloud delivered services and Internet distributed applications has driven the need for lightweight, access-anywhere GUIs.
  • Apple and Google have embraced HTML5 as the future, building new-generation browsers themselves for the first time.
  • The drive to mobile and tablets, and the desire to re-use apps and code across platforms

Although, as Myles pointed out, there are challenges with HTML5, as it lacked many of the enterprise development features and tooling that developers expect and need to efficiently build large-scale, maintainable apps. It’s still evolving, meaning not all features are universally supported.

Many firms are though still running older SDPs, and other high performance trading platforms, built using technologies such as Java and .Net. Whilst they may wish to move to HTML5, for various reasons such as lack of budget, time, or dev skills needed, they can’t make the transition yet.

So, what are the options for such firms, and how can they leverage newer HTML5 features now?

Caplin already provide a fully supported framework to enable the embedding of HTML5 apps in other technology containers.

Alternatively, firms could use an open-source embedded framework such as Chromium to embed HTML5 content into window’s apps.

Although, according to Mazy Dar, CEO of OpenFin which provides HTML5 runtime technology, and who are also a technology partner of Caplin:

“What they’ve found is that it suffers from memory and performance problems, and those are problems that get more acute as time goes on. Also, because it is an open-source product, there is no support for it to help fix problems.”

OpenFinIn response, OpenFin has just released new functionality to enable firms to embed HTML5 into applications without having to rewrite them.

“For example, say you are using an existing market data application and there are a lot of things you like but you want a better charting tool. You find a HTML5 charting tool with all the bells and whistles you need, but you need to get it running inside your application. In a web browser, there’s no way for it to communicate with your application. But now you can embed it in your application. That’s an example of something people are doing today,”

Interestingly, OpenFin’s main focus has been trading applications and single-dealer platforms, but the vendor is currently in talks with an unnamed large information provider that is about to roll out its Container software to update its own data platform from legacy technologies to HTML5, Dar says.

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