Join us at OSFF on December 8th in NYC to see it in action!
Here at FINOS, we love FDC3, our standard for Financial application interoperability. If you don’t know what is it, check out our extensive resources in the FINOS resource center, but the tl;dr is: it’s a standard way for applications to share contextual information with one another, so that they can reflect the context of what the user is doing - allowing the user to work faster and avoid mistakes.
Here’s a typical example: let’s say you’re using your favorite CRM system, reviewing the contacts you need to talk to in the next week. Before FDC3, if you wanted to open a chat window with one of those contacts, you’d need to fire up Microsoft Teams or Symphony (another chat platform, very popular in the finance industry), click a button to start a new chat and then find them in the directory of that application. This is an unnecessary amount of copy-paste, or re-keying.
With FDC3 things are better: the applications have a common understanding of context. Your CRM shares a contact with Symphony. Symphony knows about contacts, and can tell the CRM that it can perform a “Start Chat” operation with one. So, the CRM’s context menu is populated with the “Start Chat” operation, which will take you straight into a Symphony chat.
It’s the same deal with stocks: let’s say you’re viewing your portfolio in your favorite trading app. You expand to look into the holdings you have on a single trade. Hey presto, the charting app you have loaded updates to show you how the stock price changed over the last week.
So how does it work?
There are three key things that needs to happen here:
First, the apps need to know about the FDC3 Standard, which provides the protocols for the sharing of context information and possible actions (called Intents).
Second, there must be a Desktop Agent somewhere in the mix that plays postman to all of the messages flowing between the applications. There are plenty of these to choose from (including FINOS’ own FDC3 Sail - an open source Desktop Agent)
Third, there must be a directory of apps available to choose from. The directory lists out all the different apps, along with which context data they work with, and which intents they expose.
If you’re working inside an organization that is all-in on FDC3 and has hundreds of FDC3-ready applications, then there will be an administrative group curating the directory for you. Alternatively, lots of the commercial vendors also provide an app store to get started.
But if you’re just wanting to have a play with FDC3, or find out what applications are available, then previously you were out of luck.
The FINOS App Directory (Beta)
To fill this gap, FINOS have stepped up and created https://directory.fdc3.finos.org/. The first, open, free and public FDC3-2.0 Compliant App Directory! You can browse a growing collection of apps here, or you can download FDC3 Sail (which uses this app directory by default) and see how they all interact together.
At the moment, this is a beta version hosted in FINOS Labs: we are interested to see whether hosting an FDC3 App Directory will be useful and lead to both vendors and clients starting to share their FDC3 apps “in the open”.
In the future we’ll also consider an application conformance program to certify applications against the standard, akin to the one we’re building for FDC3 Desktop Agents.
Currently, we have initial applications listed from Symphony, Cosaic, Connectifi, NexJ, Adaptable and our own FDC3 Conformance Framework. You can browse them at https://directory.fdc3.finos.org/ and request listing your application by opening an issue at https://github.com/finos-labs/FDC3-App-Directory.
How To Get Started
You can check out, build and run FINOS’ FDC3 Sail now and see all apps interacting in our open source desktop container, and you can come to OSFF New York on 8th December and watch Nick Kolba and Sebastien Ben M'Barek present FDC3 Sail live on stage!
If you are writing an FDC3 app then consider listing your app in the FINOS App Directory as a way of giving your app more exposure to the FDC3 community.
Get in touch with me, rob@firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, feedback or if you'd like to contribute to this project!
Interested in this FINOS open source project, or any of our other projects? Click the link below to see how to get involved in the FINOS Community.