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Bloomberg Open Sources Its Market Data Distribution Technology

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the free-and-open-market dept.

IT 25

First time accepted submitter Cara_Latham writes "Hoping to spur innovation and collaboration, Bloomberg LP is opening its market data interfaces to anyone, without cost or restriction. The market data provider's application programming interface (API), known as BLPAPI (Bloomberg LP API), is already used by Bloomberg, its clients and other technology providers to build connections between financial firms' applications and Bloomberg's market data and applications. Today any technology professional, or even students at a university, can access BLPAPI to quickly build connections to market data feeds. The BLPAPI interface works with a number of programming languages and operating systems, including Java, C, C++, .NET, COM and Perl."

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BLOOBERG BOOMERANGED ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38910029)

What does that mean anyway ??

Philanthropy (5, Funny)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910121)

Wow this is amazing! Kudos to Bloomberg for such an unexpected and generous gift! Why, now anyone at all can connect to Bloomberg's proprietary and expensive market data feeds. That's what I call true philanthropy.

Re:Philanthropy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38910215)

The *API* is free, not the data feeds, which means you can create third-party applications without a terminal, but will need one (or one of their appliances) to test it and use their data. So, unless you are willing to open your wallet and grab a few thousand a month, it's probably not that useful for someone that doesn't have a contract with them.

Re:Philanthropy (4, Informative)

ZaphDingbat (451843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38911727)

I've actually contacted Bloomberg to ask about this, and they're not even open-sourcing anything. They're announcing their intention to form a committee to create open standards based on their tech. This is great because it will help fill gaps that AMQP and others are trying to fill, but I'm not sure it deserves an announcement until, you know, there's actually something to look at.

Re:Philanthropy (3, Informative)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38912809)

It is not that useful PERIOD...

The Bloomberg API is not that great. It is like writing code to match a DDE interface. I have written code against the Bloomberg API and while it sounds nice that Bloomberg is open sourcing it, it is useless.

I can understand why Bloomberg created the API that they did. The problem has to do with being flexible and not knowing what the underlying data is. Remember Bloomberg grabs data about equities, bonds, commodities, etc. And they all have their data idiosyncracises.

I think the real problem with Bloomberg is that they are being shutout of the market. I last used them a year ago and frankly they were not much better than twitter. The advantage with Twitter is that it is free, whereas Bloomberg costs about 1900 USD per month. The only place where Bloomberg still has an advantage is its data warehouse. I have yet to find a data warehouse that is as extensive as theirs...

Re:Philanthropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38914623)

It is not that useful PERIOD...

So it is just like their TV network.

Re:Philanthropy (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38917041)

I think the real problem with Bloomberg is that they are being shutout of the market. I last used them a year ago and frankly they were not much better than twitter. The advantage with Twitter is that it is free, whereas Bloomberg costs about 1900 USD per month. The only place where Bloomberg still has an advantage is its data warehouse. I have yet to find a data warehouse that is as extensive as theirs...

The advantage with Bloomberg is that it actually has data, whereas Twitter is filled with random people's mumblings?

Other than getting real time feeds of news (which twitter could be good for I suppose), bloomberg is really mostly used for data. Twitter has nothing. Bloomberg has real time and historical data on equities, bonds, corporate actions, ratings actions, analyst ratings, etc.--all available instantly with the touch of a couple of buttons on their goofy colored keyboard. Access to this data feed would give your app a ton of power; sure your users still have to pay for access to the feed, but I bet there is some way to get access to a feed of specific content for use in a standalone app for a hell of a lot less money than having a bloomberg terminal at your desk.

Re:Philanthropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38915043)

It is useful if you are already using (or plan to use) the Bloomberg API. You can write code using this API and know that potentially if you're un-happy with Bloomberg, you can interface easily your new data source with the code that's already using the API. I suppose that eventually the main data providers will provide a n out-of-box BLPAPI interface.

It's obviously not philanthropy but they will provide some BSD-licensed code and that is always nice to get.

Re:Philanthropy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38915825)

Don't confuse Bloomberg LP with Bloomberg Foundation. The former is the cash-cow financial market data company, the latter is the philanthropic foundation Mike created to spend the company's profits.

I don't see any news here. The API is only useful if you already subscribe to a feed from Bloomberg.

Data feeds are not free (1)

Dorduan (1411877) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910193)

It is only the API that they have released and you should still pay if you need the data... Not useful for me!

big deal (4, Interesting)

JimboTheProgrammer (1756970) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910223)

I've worked for Bloomberg, and I can tell you they're not doing it for the philanthropy. They're most certainly in it for the money. So they give you the API to build plug-ins or more create a tight Bloomberg feed to your own product. Big deal. I didn't see anything about giving the data away.

Re:big deal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38910447)

Most of the reviews of bloomberg on theglassdoor.com are too positive.

The summary is

1)No real design

2)Just fix bugs all day, as fast as you can

3)Crappy priority OS and dev env Bloomberg Terminal

Have a co-worker that had to interface with there API , along with other financial companies . In his experience Bloomberg was broken the most and always buggy, see comment 2.

Re:big deal (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38912155)

I've worked for Bloomberg, and I can tell you they're not doing it for the philanthropy. They're most certainly in it for the money. So they give you the API to build plug-ins or more create a tight Bloomberg feed to your own product. Big deal. I didn't see anything about giving the data away.

Of course.

The whole point is to get people to write apps and programs against the API. Then a bunch of programs will be "supports Bloomberg!" as a feature item. This means people will then pay Bloomberg for access to the feed.

Right now, if you want their feed, you have to buy their terminal, something most of us won't be able to acquire or afford.

WIth this move, we can have apps for smartphones and our PCs (and portfolio management apps) that can use the Bloomberg feed. All of a sudden, the number of people who can purchase the Bloomberg feed increases, which means even if only 1% purchase a subscription, the number of subscribers they have increases.

Keep the API proprietary - they can sell hardware to a few folks. Make it open, people will write software against it, and they can sell the feed data to many more people, hopefully.

Good for Entrepreneurs (2)

jpwilliams (2430348) | more than 2 years ago | (#38910285)

This is great for entrepreneurs who want to build better representations of these massive data sets. As someone pointed out, the feed isn't free, but this is still a big move. The financial sector is in need of some major tech overhaul. Even though this helps Bloomberg, it helps the marketplace too.

The API design is crap (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38910551)

Had a quick review of the API, for high-freq use cases the design is crap. For historical data use-cases, the design crap.

To add to that, if there is no access to data, even limited access (no real-time or complete historical views), then what is all this fuss about? and furthermore, what is open source about providing APIs? they were already doing it for free if you had an account and asked for it, if thats the case for calling something open source, then by that measure MS as open sourced its entire .NET platform from day one. lots of astro-turfing and shills on slashdot these days.

I sometimes wonder if the people that design the BB and RFA interfaces are not people but rather monkeys randomly pounding a keyboard....

Re:The API design is crap (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913941)

With .NET Reflection, you essentially have the entire source code available already.

A better analogy, I think, is the whole Windows platform. While there were questions about hidden APIs, it was largely well documented a long time ago on MSDN, in Petzold before that, and if you had any sort of compiler it almost certainly had either a help file (win32.hlp being the most popular) or other resource.

If API = open source, Windows is as well.

Release their BLP C++ libraries! Not this junk. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38911359)

Bloomberg has a HUGE set of libraries for C++ that are similar to C++98 and C++0x/C++11 stl, but don't necessarily rely on all the advanced compiler features of C++0x/C++11. If they'd release those libraries, then this would be news. It wouldn't put them at a disadvantage in their market, but it would help gain some respect from the C++ community.

Re:Release their BLP C++ libraries! Not this junk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38917917)

You should know that Bloomberg has contributed some of these improvements to the new C++ standard. Quite a few people from Bloomberg are on the C++ Standards Committee

Open API's vs. Open Source (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38911651)

Open API's are not the same as open source. An Open API allows anyone to create a client to use their stuff, which would be to their advantage. It also allows implicitly allows anyone to try to duplicate the back end system, but that is a heck of a lot of work for which they aren't providing source code for.

This reminds me of the time back in the '90s when Microsoft "opened" (this was before the term Open Source) the COM/DCOM/ActiveX specifications by turning them over to ECMA (a computer manufacturer's trade group) for "standardization". Then they paid Software AG to port the COM support stack to Unix, which didn't work very well because (for one thing) there were numerous dependencies on Windows data structures such as hWnd and hDC. Except for a few gullible journalists in the trade press, the world basically ignored "cross-platform DCOM", and soon it went away.

Which license, bitches? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38912527)

Don't say "open source", it is fairly meaningless. And often misused. Lame submitter and lame editors, what a surprise...

Bad title, please correct. (1)

Chilles (79797) | more than 2 years ago | (#38912553)

Opening an API that was already open to pretty much anyone who asked != opensource. The correct title of the article would be: Bloomberg opens part of market data API to non-clients and tries to pass it off as open source. There is no new source to be gotten and recompiled here.

Not well-built (1)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913713)

I just scanned through the Javadoc for the Java part. It looks horrible ( I mean the set-up & architecture, not the javadoc ). Binspam + dupe.

Wrong Title (1)

Jean Taureau (2195790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38913743)

No source , therefore not open source.

Interested in developing finance apps? Try this... (2)

i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) | more than 2 years ago | (#38914143)

Look into interactivebrokers.com [interactivebrokers.com] . You do need to open an account there (which IMHO isn't too much to ask. A roth IRA can be opened for $3k I think) but when you do, they'll give you (on request) a test/paper trade account with $1,000,000 in it and access to the real time functions.

... vs. Thomson Reuters APIs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38915527)

We've got them beat by a long shot ;-)

Login here and query away about the APIs.
https://customers.reuters.com

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