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We're releasing the trading shim TM to the financial markets research community in the hopes that it will be useful, whether as a tool for data acquisition, a vehicle for market research, or a starting point for learning and knowledge exchange.

The trading shim is a command-line and dbms controlled interface to the socket-based API of Interactive Brokers' Trader Workstation, abbreviated as the IB tws socket api, or simply 'tws'. That api has a number of advantages for our purposes, including the freely available Trader Workstation, comprehensive feeds and archives for tick and history data, a paper account ideal for software testing, and low transaction costs.

The shim consults the product database at initial startup, and from then on uses in-memory lookup to translate brief text commands from the downstream to the much longer binary requests of the tws api. It serializes the resulting event stream and copies the text to any of a number of user-selected output channels. The shim command interface provides an alternative to the existing tws gui interfaces, permitting you to use downstream programs, whether gui or not, to drive the tws through its api.

The shim is written in C++, and although developed on Linux, should compile and run on any modern Unix-like platform. It is available and useful now. It's free software; we've released the trading shim in source form under the GNU General Public License in order to reach the widest possible community of users. Commercial licenses and support are also available.

Please fully explore this site, read the README, and consider subscribing to the 'ts-general' mailing list; the 'ts-announce' mailing list will be very low volume, and Read Only to a ordinary subscriber, and consist of at most 4 or 5 release announcements a month. We also periodically update a record at freshmeat.net which has an automated release notification system covering this project as well.

All bug reports must end up in the bug tracker if they are to be addressed; a well-formed bug report, with reproducing minimal cases is appreciated. Often, our response is a request to 'upgrade to current'; Please take systematic backups, and do testing against the freely available 'paper' trading accounts which accompany or are freely available to every IB account holder. You alone are responsible for the determination on when, after what testing, and how this software is used.

Please be aware that the shim is copyrighted code wholly under the GNU GPL; It was initially released under GPLv2 or later (note especially paragraphs 11 and 12); and was re-licensed to GPLv3 or later in July 2007. The term 'trading shim' is our trademark. Please understand the following:
absent a prior, formal, written, paid up and commercial license and support contract, there is no warranty, expressed or implied, nor guarantee against any sort of perceived adverse result, regardless of any prior contrary request for assurance; no person except the officers of trading-shim.com, LLC may in any fashion vary this term, except that it be by a writing countersigned by at least two such officers of trading-shim.com, LLC
The shim is the result of substantial and ongoing work to implement a thoughtfully designed, database enabled interface to the IB tws. We acknowledge the efforts of others primarily oriented to automated trading or data visualization, and instead focus on design for scalability to hundreds of simultaneous lines of inquiry into the ECN markets.

We are using the trading shim to explore a gamut of research interests in the context of a non-trivial system; e.g., we note conflicts between the theories trusted by fundamentals investors, and the practical results observed by technical traders in reality; and we are exploring software engineering issues related to mixed paradigm programming, design patterns, and test-driven development.

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