It’s pretty common to launch a product or website on one browser, while seeing it fall apart on another. Same thing goes for dedicated apps across different mobile phones and operating systems. While the diversity of mobile and computer products is great for the consumer, for developers it is a constant headache. Not only do programmers need to create various versions of their software to handle multiple systems, software developers also need to keep up whether updates will work on every existing platform.
Similarly, the FX trading world isn’t immune to this problem. In fact, specifically among global brokers there is a greater need for software compatibility due to the geographical diversity of customers. Due to these difficulties, it is no surprise that we are seeing more products created using HTML5, where it offers increased portability across numerous devices. However, not every browser across the world isHTML5 compliant.
Providing a solution is OpenFin. Founded by CEO, Mazy Dar and COO Chuck Doerr in 2010, the duo had come from working at ICE, where they arrived at the exchange after it had acquired their previous employer, Creditex, the firm then went live in December 2012. James Dawson, Head of EMEA, explained to Forex Magnates what led to the creation of the firm, was that after the founders had 12 years of experience deploying trading platforms to 70 banks and 600 buy side clients, they discovered two major problems; “How to deploy applications seamlessly and manage their upgrade cycle remotely and effortlessly, and how to allow those applications to integrate with other applications on the desktop, for example Excel.”
To create a solution, rather than develop to meet the standards of all devices and systems, OpenFin created a cross-platform application for financial firms to use to deploy to their clients. Stated another way, OpenFin created a web browser that works across multiple operating systems and devices, with financial firms developing applications that run on this browser. The result is that development is only done once, with firms deploying to their customers’ OpenFin’s browser that runs their applications.
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A recent partnership that provides a working example is OpenFin’s collaboration with Caplin Trading Systems. A provider of FX trading platforms for banks, Caplin uses the HTML5 environment to offer wider scale usability by end-users. However, as mentioned above, not all end-users are using browsers that are fully HTML5 compliant. Through their partnership, OpenFin provides Caplin clients the ability to deploy Caplin’s trading platform operating within OpenFin’s browser-like application.
In addition to more efficient development, Dawson explained that bank users also gain additional control and data about their customers, as user statistics are easier to gather via their technology than through general browsers. Dawson added that with OpenFin, firms can deploy an app marketplace to clients. He stated that, “Using OpenFin, firms will have their own branded app store at the client site. This will allow them to deliver a whole suite of their applications and gadgets from one place or ICON on the client desktop to the client.”
Over the next few years, wider adoption of OpenFin could spawn the beginnings of an app marketplace to handle third party development, Dawson said that, “Longer term we could imagine other application providers leveraging this distribution to get to those same desktops.”
Currently, OpenFin is targeting the financial industry with a focus on capital markets. The company’s first three bank clients are using their technology to power their single-dealer FX platforms. But, Dawson explained that their technology is really structured for “any corporation that is deploying software either internally or externally.” He added that overall they view themselves as providing three main selling points, “allowing Web applications to run as if they were native on the desktop, thereby giving the user a Desktop experience and NOT an in browser experience.” Secondly, “allowing existing technologies like Java and C++ to extend themselves into HTML5.” Thirdly, the above mentioned “branded corporate app store and application management suite.”