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Last modified: November 05, 2002
FIXML - A Markup Language for the FIX Application Message Layer

"The Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol is a messaging standard developed specifically for the real-time electronic exchange of securities transactions. FIX is a public-domain specification owned and maintained by the FIX Organization. [Its] mission is to improve the global trading process by defining, managing, and promoting an open protocol for real-time, electronic communication between industry participants, while complementing industry standards.

From the 2002-04 FPL Position Statement: "This announcement reflects a position from FPL on the XML related developments of the FPL sponsored ISO XML working group currently working with the ISO 15022 XML Working Group (WG 10). It is expected that FPL will release an updated version of the FIX Protocol specification in 2002 to include fixed income related and other minor changes to the current FIX 4.3 specification. This will occur after the FPL Fixed Income Working Group (FIWG) has defined and submitted the fixed income related changes to the FIX Protocol work which is based on the gap analysis conducted between the FIX 4.3 release in August 2001 and the Bond Market Association Plain English documents. It is the current practice of the FPL Technical Committee to release the FIX Protocol specification with both traditional "tag=value" and FIXML syntax. Since a new version of the FIX Specification will be produced by the end of the year, FPL will produce a FIXML version based on the current FIXML design rules. This release will include both DTD and XML Schema formats. Prior to the release of a new version, FPL expects to create a FIXML XML Schema version of its current FIXML versions (4.1, 4.2, and 4.3). The FIXML XML Schema and DTD will validate the same XML instance (message). FPL is working with other industry groups under the umbrella of WG 10. WG 10 is developing a solution that focuses on standardizing the way standards are developed using business analysis and design techniques, agreeing on a common set of XML design rules, and establishing a standards repository which will contain the components of the standards. The main goal will be to integrate existing standards in the ISO 15022 Repository, by extracting their business information and defining a corresponding set of ISO 15022 compliant standards. The FPL sponsored ISO XML Working Group has been actively participating in WG 10. The group is responsible for the development of the pre-trade and trade sections of the ISO 15022 Standards Repository. They have recently completed work on the indication of interest message flows and are beginning work on the order processing aspects of the FIX Protocol. The scope of the FPL ISO XML Working Group is to reverse engineer the contents of the FIX Specification into the ISO 15022 Standards Repository. The current focus is on the pre-trade and trade activities of FIX, however, it is expected that FIX will also have participation in the post-trade through pre-settlement group being established by WG 10 to support the various standards options now emerging in the marketplace for post-trade messaging (i.e. GSTPA, Omgeo, etc). FPL feels it is important for WG 10 to provide the industry with guidance on how to use the new ISO 15022 XML standard. They expect to work with WG 10 on a framework, which will explain the technology and migration options. Following the release of the FIWG enhanced version of the FIX Specification, FPL will need to make a decision regarding the migration of FIXML to ISO XML. Some of this decision will be based the success of the work with WG 10, industry acceptance of XML and FPL's future scope..."

"The FIX Protocol specification is maintained by the FIX Technical Committee, which receives its direction from international Steering Committees as well as focused Working Groups made up of industry participants such as fund managers, brokerages, exchanges, and software vendors. The FIX Steering Committee and Technical Subommittee sponsor working groups to address specific business- or implementation-related issues with the goal of improving the FIX Protocol by identifying appropriate areas to extend or enhance its functionality."

"The FIX Protocol, as a cooperative effort of principal asset management and brokerage firms in the US and Europe, has evolved to an effective standard for real-time electronic communication. Shortened settlement dates, straight through processing, and increased interest in electronic connectivity has positioned FIX to be major component of real-time electronic trading systems. [As proposed], FIXML is a structured, validated Extensible Markup Language (XML) derived grammar that is encapsulated within the standard FIX message. This format leaves the FIX session handling intact and minimizes the impact to existing implementations. As an XML-derived language, FIXML messages can be validated by standard parsers and take advantage of a flexible message structure. FIXML is the FIX Markup Language for application messages. It is an XML-derived language, encompassing a series of Document Type Definitions (DTDs) which define the formal representation of FIXML messages. These DTDs will be maintained and versioned in the same manner as the FIX specification. Since FIXML is an XML-based language, it can be parsed/validated by any of the widely available XML parsers, and is positioned to evolve with the XML standard in areas such as datatype validation."

[July 06, 2001]   SWIFT and FPL Agree to Develop Securities Standard 'ISO 15022 XML' in ISO Working Group 10.    FIX Protocol Ltd. (FPL) and SWIFT have "announced an agreement under which the two organizations will seek convergence of their respective messaging protocols." SWIFT has been developing a financial message design rules specification as an XML standard "swiftML for Business Messages." SWIFT is "an industry owned co-operative supplying secure messaging services and interface software to over 7,000 financial institutions in 192 countries; SWIFT carried 1.2 billion messages in 2000." Through the FIX Organization, FIX Protocol, Ltd. has been developing the public-domain Financial Information eXchange (FIX) protocol as "a messaging standard developed specifically for the real-time electronic exchange of securities transactions. FIX is a globally recognized messaging standard that enables the electronic communication of pre-trade and trade messages between financial institutions, primarily investment managers, broker/dealers, ECNs and stock exchanges." The new agreement between SWIFT and FPL, "which centers on the adoption of ISO 15022 XML as a common industry standard, will, for the first time, provide a tangible link between the front and back office operations of securities institutions. This link will enable the seamless flow of data across the entire transaction chain. Under the terms of the agreement, FPL and SWIFT will actively support the efforts of the ISO Working Group 10, which aims to evolve the current ISO 15022 scheme for securities message types to a single standard, expressed in XML. The agreement leverages the expertise of FPL in the pre-trade/trade domain and SWIFT in the post-trade domain. Both organizations will work to develop mapping documentation to support the industry's migration to ISO 15022 XML and the coexistence of FIX, ISO 15022 and ISO 15022 XML. ISO 15022 XML is expected to be available by early 2002." [Full context]

FIX and OFX: what's the difference? "Both FIX and OFX were designed to communicate financial information. The resemblance between the two protocols doesn't go much further than that at present. OFX is very retail-focused, while FIX targets institutional business. At a more technical level, OFX is a query-response protocol much like HTTP, while FIX is a connected, session-based protocol.


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