Sell-Side Technology Awards 2014: Best Sell-Side Web-Based Development Environment — Caplin Systems

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Victor Anderson, Patrick Miles, and John Starks

Caplin Systems has earned a reputation as a trailblazer in the industry over the past few years, having been an early mover in the adoption and evolution of HTML5 and its leading-edge applications developed specifically for the capital markets. With the launch of BladeRunner, London-based Caplin kick-started a focus on single-dealer platform (SDP) development, and with its recent FX Motif product, it continues that vein of ingenuity and innovation, drastically streamlining the ability of banks to build and release their own offerings.

Built entirely in HTML5, Caplin’s motifs are pre-fabricated front-ends that can be integrated with any trading system, providing firms with the ability to react and adapt quickly to changing regulatory and operational environments. Critically, the motifs solve one of the key technology issues with incorporating agility into software development of this kind, by decoupling the systems’ front-ends from their back-ends, effectively ending the hegemony of tightly interwoven—and therefore inherently inflexible—software.

The premise of the motifs is the same as that underpinning BladeRunner, which utilizes components—the titular blades—of packaged resources in the form of JavaScript, CSS, and images for a single function of the SDP, such as blotters and charting functions. The use of the componentized modules is what powers this decoupling, allowing for parts of the software to be swapped, but not requiring a full re-work of the platform to accommodate that. The process also works in reverse, allowing for the back-end to be adjusted and tweaked in response to business or technology demands, without requiring any significant customization to the motif.

The product is already live at four large banks, with a number of upcoming projects scheduled for the coming year. Of particular note is the applicability of the platforms built using motifs, in that their foundations in HTML5 allow for widespread diffusion across a number of devices, extricating front-end software, not just from the back end, but also from the fixed desktop, as well.

While phrases such as “innovation” are often bandied around in the third-party vendor space, Caplin has hit upon something that truly embodies the spirit of the word, as well as its literal meaning. By harnessing the innate potential of HTML5, it has managed to allow for relatively straightforward SDP development, while simultaneously hitting the two current sweet spots of IT departments the world over: faster time to market and cost reduction.

Built entirely in HTML5, Caplin’s motifs are pre-fabricated front-ends that can be integrated with any trading system, providing firms with the ability to react and adapt quickly to changing regulatory and operational environments.
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