Several member firms at the Chicago Board of Trade are currently in the process of installing the exchange-s next-generation OrderDirect application programming interface in place of the CBOT-s outdated TOPS API.
After going live with The OrderDirect interface, CBOT members that employ their own, proprietary order management systems will be able to directly route orders to handheld-PC-equipped brokers on the floor of the exchange.
"Firms that have their own proprietary order management systems are currently re-wiring those to talk to the order direct API, as opposed to the TOPS API," says Tom McCabe, managing director of the order-routing business unit at the CBOT. McCabe says that a handful of firms have, in fact, already gone live with OrderDirect API. But he declines to specify either the members that have rolled out OrderDirect or the ones that are in the process of installing the new API in place of the TOPS interface.
Like OrderDirect, the old TOPS API enabled members to electronically send orders to handheld-equipped brokers. But it performed that task by linking members- order management systems with the soon-to-be-defunct TopsRoute--the CBOT-s mainframe-based order-entry system. Recently, of course, the exchange launched eopenoutcry.com (ETW, 8/28/00), an Internet-enabled order-entry system that is scheduled to completely phase out TopsRoute by next May. "On Memorial Day, 2001, we plan to decommission TOPS ... and move forward with newer, more reliable technology," says McCabe.
At that time, the TOPS API will also officially be thrown onto the scrap heap. Recognizing that TopsRoute was headed for extinction, the CBOT officially made OrderDirect available to its members last November. McCabe says he expects members to send orders to the CBOT-s floor in the future through a combination of eopenoutcry.com and OrderDirect-enabled order management systems. But he declines to speculate on whether one order-routing methodology will eventually prove more successful than the other.