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The House that MDDL Built

SIIA accelerates the quest for standards with a toolkit from Foliage.

The Software & Information Industry Association's programming members can now rest their hands. Foliage Software Systems, a Burlington, Mass.-based solutions provider, has volunteered to create a toolkit that will assist in the code-writing process for the Market Data Definition Language specification.

The toolkit is a treat for James Hartley, the Chief Technology Officer for the Financial Information Services Division of the SIIA, who focuses on developing MDDL, an eXtensible Markup Language designed for financial-services companies. He had been planning to develop the toolkit himself for almost a year, and was relieved when Foliage volunteered to take on the task.

"Up until now, it was all about defining the specification and defining the XML schema," Hartley explains. "Now that we've got momentum, it's time to come up with the tools and education materials to make people understand it. The toolkit is an educational tool as well as assistance in helping people get started with MDDL implementation."

The toolkit, which has not yet been created, will have three main roles, Hartley says: reduction, explosion and validation. It makes MDDL documents smaller so that they can be sent more efficiently over the Internet. Once the documents are received, the toolkit reverses the process, expanding the documents to their original size and significance. Then the documents are verified to ensure compliance with according business rules.

In addition, the toolkit will eventually enable "MDDL Query," a specification that will allow MDDL-users to ask for a particular document, and receive that document in a streaming MDDL version.

This signifies MDDL's ability to handle real-time streaming, Hartley says. It also demonstrates MDDL's reach into transferring data. "Once we've done (Query), we've created a whole picture to do everything form the data feed to the processing system to user application," he says.

Bob Mansmann, senior manager with the financial practice at Foliage, says the vendor is eager to lead the pack in MDDL development, an area in which he foresees major growth. In addition, he says that many of Foliage's clients, which consist of global-securities firms, have expressed interest in embracing MDDL.

While the toolkit project is expected to require three months of programming dedication on the vendor's behalf, Mansmann sees the investment as a worthwhile one. "This is an opportunity to get early exposure to the technology that the MDDL standard will be sitting on," he says.

Hartman notes that the next steps of MDDL development will include adding corporate actions and drilling down on current definitions of recently added asset classes such as derivatives, bonds, forwards and options. "The content is really only lacking corporate actions and events, and depth in existing areas," he says. "The spec is getting mature and taking on a life of its own."

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