The FIX Global Technical Committee (GTC) is proud to announce the availability of Version 1.0 of the new FIX Technical Standard FIX Orchestra. It is a metadata standard that defines all elements of a messaging application as well as the syntax for the rules that govern these elements. The term FIX Orchestra file stands for the physical representation of an electronic interface that follows the FIX Orchestra standard and uses the XML format.
FIX Orchestra was conceived as machine readable rules of engagement between counterparties. As such, it is a standard for exchange of metadata about the behavior of (FIX) applications. Orchestra is intended to cut time to on-board counterparties and improve accuracy of implementations. FIX Orchestra does not change FIX Protocol itself in any way, nor does it make obsolete existing FIX engines or tools.
The well-known FIX Repository (https://www.fixtrading.org/standards/fix-repository/) is just part of a FIX Orchestra file, representing the messages, components, groups, fields, and values supported by an interface. A given FIX implementation typically only uses a small subset of the FIX Repository. The FIX Orchestra file published on the FIX website will always include the entire FIX application layer. The FIX session layers (FIX4, FIXT) are also represented via FIX Orchestra files.
However, FIX Orchestra is much more than just a static set of messages, components, groups, fields, and values. It is also about the orchestration of an interface, e.g. the conditionality of certain fields and values based on the presence or values of other fields. FIX Orchestra offers the definition of so-called scenarios, i.e. variants of a specific message, component or field. For example, a FIX ExecutionReport(35=8) message will look very different when confirming a successful order modification compared to a partial fill. It is also possible to design workflows representing an exchange of messages between counterparties. An Orchestra file allows to capture the key aspects of an interface and can then be used for example to develop internal and external test cases or as input for the automated generation of documentation. Counterparties can agree on a single Orchestra file as interface specification.
Non-FIX interfaces and Orchestra
Note that FIX Orchestra is not limited to FIX interfaces but can be used for any electronic interface. The FIX GTC has done a proof of concept with the publicly available specification of a binary, proprietary interface of a large exchange to ensure that the syntax of Orchestra would be able to address any messaging application.
The FIX GTC is working on a number of tools to create and maintain Orchestra files. Orchid, the Orchestra editor offers a graphical user interface to upload and maintain an existing Orchestra file. Other tools will be able to convert FIX logfiles or a simple text input into an Orchestra file to jump-start the process. The tools will be made available to the FIX Trading Community under different conditions, probably depending on the FIX membership status. Note that the tools are still work in progress and the FIX GTC is now encouraging the FIX Trading Community to make use of the FIX Orchestra standard. Feedback from such usage is valuable input for the desired capabilities of the tools. Please use the related post on the FIX discussion forum for this.
FIX Orchestra Group
FIX offers its members a working group that has been responsible for the development of the FIX Orchestra standard. The standard has now reached a significant level of maturity. Since 2016, the group has submitted a total of five Release Candidates for Version 1.0 to the GTC prior to the Draft Standard that has now been published. Please contact the FIX Program Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested to join the group.
FIX EMEA Trading Conference 2020
The annual EMEA Trading Conference is the biggest FIX conference world-wide with up to 1,000 delegates. There will be more than one session touching on FIX Orchestra including a dedicated Orchestra demonstration session planning to show a live presentation of tools and techniques. Please see https://www.fixtrading.org/event/emea2020/ for details.