A new kind of spreadsheet…

September 28, 2007

Excel is unavoidable for anyone working in front office trading systems. Front office support teams often bemoan the hassle of supporting myriad sheets, all a spaghetti mixture of various internal and external plugins and trader coded VB. Whole lines of business get built on spreadsheets, and replacing them with robust apps soaks up many developer years.

But spreadsheets will always be on the trading floor, no matter how hard IT may try to eliminate them. The reason is simple: Excel is the traders’ preferred development platform. Yet at the same time, it’s a general purpose tool, quite ill suited for trading apps. I’ve long thought that a determined start up could make a killing by building a better spreadsheet for the trading floor.

Being a long time Pythonista, and just recently dipping my toes in the water with IronPython for desktop etrading apps, I was excited to discover Resolver Systems. The Resolver is an IronPython .Net based spreadsheet that supports injection of Python scripts. I hope the Resolver guys are thinking about multi threading and serverisation as well as integration with existing .Net based Excel addins. Multi threading and server side capability would allow serverisation of trader coded pricing, and support for existing .Net addins would enable Resolver sheets to plug into market data infrastructures etc.

Good luck to the Resolver guys !  I’m very happy to see a promising startup furthering the cause of Python on the trading floor.

Summer reading

September 11, 2007

Over the summer I’ve been reading “Invisible Engines” by Evans et al. Strongly recommended for all with an interest in the software business. It’s prompted me into a re-reading of Charles Ferguson’s extraordinary “High Stakes, No Prisoners”, which I’m enjoying even more than the first time. Ferguson’s book was written in 99 about events that took place five years previously. From the vantage point of 2007 it seems even more insightful.