Friday, December 13, 2013

HTML5DevConf: More Than Just WebSockets for Real-Time Multiplayer Games and Collaboration

We are very excited to report that Lightstreamer exhibited at the prestigious HTML5 Developers Conference held on October 22-23, 2013 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. HTML5DevConf is one of the largest, best attended software developer conferences in the world. The event also included three days of training sessions, all of which sold out weeks in advance.

Alessandro Alinone, Lightstreamer's Co-Founder and CTO, held a well attended session titled "More Than Just WebSockets for Real-Time Multiplayer Games and Collaboration". Alessandro explained and demonstrated how some advanced optimization techniques, originally developed for the financial services industry in the last decade, can be applied to HTML5 games and collaboration systems.

>> Watch the video recording of Alessandro's session and see the slide deck below

Friday, November 29, 2013

Yet Another Integration: AngularJS

I had some spare time, so I decided to put together some code to make a PoC integration between our Lightstreamer JavaScript client library and Google's AngularJS.

The integration went smoothly: simply prepare the view using AngularJS syntax, then populate the associated model object with the data flowing in from the Lightstreamer subscription. At each update, ask AngularJS to refresh the view and you're done!

Let me show it to you right here through a simple recipe.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Visual Layer of the JavaScript Client Library Is Now Open Source

A few weeks ago, we released part of our Lightstreamer JavaScript Client library as an open source project on GitHub (actually, four projects).

The initial idea was to release our visual layer as an open source addon to our client library. It was 2011 and at that time the latest release of our client library was still version 5. Unfortunately, the visual layer of that lib was quite entangled with the subscription layer, so that such separation was unlikely. We also had in mind to completely revise our client APIs and planned to full embrace the AMD philosophy. So, we decided to wait. Fast-forward to 2012, with client version 6 we finally had a modular library and an independent visual layer, and the separation was finally possible. Other priorities took our time though, so the release had to wait until last summer.

Before we could release the visual layer, we had to release a common layer of utilities we shared across our whole library. The idea of a second project, to host the various utilities, was born... Following closer, came the idea to isolate the logging infrastructure in its own project and to also publish our testing framework. In the end, we had 4 projects to publish.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Meet Our Customers: Piriform

A short interview with Rafal Girycki, Senior Developer and Team/Project Leader at Piriform, a global provider of award-winning software that makes computer run 'Clean, Safe and Fast'.

Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Our company is a global provider of software that makes computers run ‘Clean, Safe and Fast’. Along with our flagship product CCleaner, which is now available both for Mac and PC in different versions for both home and business/enterprise users, Piriform also developed Defraggler, a user-friendly tool for hard drives defragmentation, Recuva, a utility for lost files recovery, and Speccy, an advanced system information tool.

Agomo is the first cloud-based PC maintenance solution developed by Piriform. It brings CCleaner, Defraggler and other useful tools to the cloud".

 Could you let us know any further information?

"Piriform is a privately owned UK software house, with offices in London, New York and Eastern Europe. At Piriform we create award-winning software to make computers faster, more secure and with increased privacy. Our software is used and trusted by millions, in 195 countries. CCleaner alone has been installed more than 1 Billion times onto nearly 25% of all the PCs in the world, and has been chosen by over 1 million business customers".

Monday, October 7, 2013

Optimizing Multiplayer 3D Game Synchronization Over the Web

A few months ago, I stumbled upon an interesting article by Eric Li titled "Optimizing WebSockets Bandwidth" [1]. Eric mentions how the advent of WebSockets has made it easier to develop HTML5 multiplayer games. But delivering the positional and rotational data for each player in a 3D game can consume a lot of bandwidth. Eric does some calculations and illustrates several optimizations to expose how much bandwidth might be needed.

Table of Contents
After reading the article, I was thrilled because I have been dealing with bandwidth optimization of real-time data streaming for thirteen years now. I am the CTO and co-founder of Lightstreamer, a Real-Time Web Server that we originally created for the financial industry to deliver real-time stock prices. Well, many of the optimization algorithms created for online financial trading can be applied, unchanged, to online gaming. And we have worked with many banks across the world for several years to optimize bandwidth and reduce latency. So, I considered Eric's article as a challenge to demonstrate how well the algorithms we have developed in the last decade can give immediate benefit to multiplayer games, including MMOs, MMORPGs, and immersive 3D virtual worlds. Coming from the sector of real-time financial data, I am not a game development expert but I think that "cross-fertilization" between finance and gaming could give some unexpected benefits.

We decided to work on an online demo of a simple multiplayer 3D world, using Lightstreamer for the real-time synchronization, while showing the actual bandwidth used. We added several buttons, sliders, and controls to allow tweaking the parameters of the scenario and simulate any flavor of data delivery.

The final result is a toolkit that can be exploited to experiment and tune different game communication scenarios. The full source code of the demo is freely available on GitHub.

In this article, I will take you through the demo, showing you how to use it, explaining what's under the hood, and illustrating some of the advanced techniques employed. If you are interested to know how we optimized the network transport, you can skip to the section "Techniques to Employ in the Real-Time Web Stack" below.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Meet Our Partners: CoralTree

A short interview with Kevin Turner, Co-Founder and Technical Director at CoralTree, a leading provider of innovative BSS, CRM and revenue management solutions. CoralTree is the company behind the Renaissance Framework, an open source, web-based interface which can be added over an old fashioned ‘green screen’ software, leveraging the latest technologies including Lightstreamer.

Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"CoralTree Systems is a leading provider of BSS solutions, which include CRM, order management, billing and inventory management software for the communications industry. We strive to offer cost-cutting, robust and reliable solutions and related services, supported by a flexible and quality-oriented company".

 Could you let us know any further information?

"CoralTree Systems is a UK-based company established in 2004. Our flagship products include daVinci, a scalable and customisable end-to-end solution that deliver sales and marketing, customer management, order management, inventory management and revenue management capabilities. daVinci BSS can be deployed in a variety of delivery models, including license, managed services, and SaaS".

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

'Hello bank!' by Cortal Consors: Innovative Online Workshops

We are really excited to announce that USEEDS°, a German B2B consultancy firm for user-centric design of interactive applications and associated services, and E27, an innovative agency focused on verticals as different as web, graphic, and product design, opted for Lightstreamer to be rolled out as the streaming engine at the heart of an online workshop environment developed for 'Hello bank!’ by CortalConsors, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas focused on private investment and online trading.

USEEDS° has been invited to provide its expertise as part of the Cortal Consors' effort in repositioning itself as a financial institution. Hello bank! represents a new approach to banking, designed to meet the needs of European clients for a faster, easier, always-on mobile and Internet banking service. Launched on May 2013 in Belgium and Germany and soon also in France and Italy, Hello bank! will aim to attract 1.4 million clients within five years.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meet Our Partners: Nutcracker

A short interview with Dean Casey, Owner and Director at Nutcracker, a specialist in real-time financial data and information solutions.

Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Nutcracker is a technology specialist for companies in the financial services sector that require real-time access to financial markets and supporting information, functions and processes. Nutcracker’s service oriented architecture connects to an increasing number of markets and instruments for data feeds and trading and facilitates processing and viewing this data in a transparent and effective way".

 Could you let us know any further information?

 "Our product portfolio is made up of a number of different solutions including

Web Portal Solutions - Nutcracker’s Web Portal Solution allows our customers to offer white-labelled, tailor-made trading and portfolio viewing websites for their retail clients. Features include live market data, stock info and watch list, order routing and technical analysis among the many others.

- A tiny yet complete trading application, developed as a Java Applet and working on a wide variety of platforms, that provide a full watch list and order routing facilities.

Web TraderPro
- A high performance web based professional trading application for professional traders on the road and day traders. It is available for the Internet on desktops, tablets and smart phones and is supported by all browsers.

PortfolioPro - Available in two editions (for Portfolio Managers and Administrators), it provides detailed and summary views of client holdings and transaction data all in one easy to navigate screen. Advanced Modelling, Performance, Compliance, Management Fees, Statements and Reporting are some of the many features available in PortfolioPro".

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Meet Our Partners: Web Financial Group

A short interview with Simon Walmsley, Director/Global Sales Team at Web Financial Group, a company that offers solutions for the integration of financial market data and news.

Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Web Financial Group offers web based solutions for the integration, presentation and promotion of financial market data and related products to the financial community. Our offer comprehends managed content, market data, and real-time data streaming solutions based on http/HTML4 and the emerging WebSockets/HTML5 to multiple web based client technologies, backed by a scalable and flexible multi-vendor, multi-asset, data warehouse platform that allows us to provide a cost effective, end-to-end integrated service. We are currently able to collect and distribute from over 70 integrated data and news sources coming from different vendors, index issuers and stock exchanges, including Thomson Reuters, Teletrader, Bloomberg, Moodys, Fitch, and Reuters among the many others (a comprehensive list is available here)".

 Could you let us know any further information?

"Our company has three distinct business segments - WebFG Technology, WebFG Media & WebFG Network. WebFG has successfully deployed several hundred projects for 100+ global banking groups for over a decade, and is now currently supporting in excess of 70 million clients utilising WebFG's solutions through our white labels. Our customers include Yahoo!, London Stock Exchange, Société Generale and a number of additional top-tier companies from different industries".

Friday, July 12, 2013

Meet Our Customers: Yazino

A short interview with Hussein Chahine, Founder & CEO at Yazino, an innovative social casino gaming company.

Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Yazino is the home for both social (play-for-fun) and real-money (play-for-money) casino games. We bring casino style games to the mass market in a socially acceptable, friendly, appealing format, combining the best of both iGaming and Social Gaming. Yazino players connect, compete and chat with like-minded people all over the world, live and multiplayer from web, smartphones and tablets".

 Could you let us know any further information?

"Yazino is a London-based company founded in January 2009. Our gaming platform was commercially launched in August 2010 with the ambition to make multiplayer social gaming truly social and universal, with a business model focused on sales of virtual currency (chips). The platform is unique in that it is immensely scalable, and was wired from the start for both social gaming and real money gambling".

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Meet Our Customers: Southern Cross Austereo

A short interview with Mike Crothers, Head of Digital Technology at Southern Cross Austereo, one of the most important broadcasting organizations in Australia.

Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Southern Cross Austereo is a group of entertainment-based media companies. It can reach the 95% of Australians each week via regional free-to-air TV networks, national radio networks, online, mobile and unique one off events. The group operates 80 radio stations and 21 commercial television licenses, and provides more hours of live content per day than any other broadcast media in Australia".

 Could you let us know any further information?

"We had approximately 2 million people visit our main websites in May this year. Our audience is mainly based in Australia with over 90% of people viewing the sites from here".

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Client SDK for OS X Available for Download

Version 1.0 of our new Lightstreamer Client SDK for the OS X platform is now available.

The OS X client library is directly derived from the iOS client library, with which is API compatible. It supports automatic reconnection, automatic resubscription, stream sensing and advanced thread pooling just like the iOS one.

HTTP Streaming with Lightstreamer

Oddmar Sandvik, a veteran consultant and software developer, wrote about his experience with HTTP Streaming using Lightstreamer on his own blog Allekonsulentene, and kindly allowed us to republish this article. Oddmar appreciated Lightstreamer in terms of performance, features, and scalability, even keeping a simple programming model in mission-critical projects.

Oddmar designed, developed, and maintained high frequency/low latency web-based financial trading solutions for DNB for about three years. With more than 1.6 million customers, DNB is Norway's largest financial services group, and one of the largest in the Nordic region in terms of market capitalisation. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Benchmarking Socket.IO vs. Lightstreamer with Node.js

Because of the increasing popularity of server-side JavaScript, some weeks ago we released a Node module which enables you to write a Lightstreamer adapter that runs inside Node.js. If you are not familiar with Lightstreamer, it is a server that implements bi-directional real-time messaging for mobile, browser-based, and desktop apps. And a Lightstreamer adapter is a custom piece of software you develop to implement your server-side logic (publish messages, receive and elaborate messages, etc.).

Before developing the Node adapter for Lightstreamer, we were wondering if it made any sense... I mean, if you need a real-time server and you want to write your server-side logic in JavaScript, why should you use Lightstreamer with its Node adapter when you can directly use Socket.IO? Well, the answer is twofold: features and performance. In this article, I will focus on performance only. I decided to put the two solutions to the test with a benchmark.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Amazon AMIs for Lightstreamer Moderato Now Available

Cloud services like Amazon AWS are a perfect way to reduce the time and costs associated to exploring, testing, and deploying new technologies. You choose an AMI, launch an EC2 instance and you are done. A brand new machine with all the software you need is ready to use!

The good news is that now we provide free public Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with pre-installed Lightstreamer Server, Moderato Edition.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Meet Our Partners: Wirex

A short interview with Alessandro Negro, CTO at Wirex, an Italian software house providing platforms for gaming, betting and gambling operations.
Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Wirex was founded in 2002 and its products cover the whole spectrum of the iGaming industry with a wide offer of internally developed software, including a players management platform, a live casino, a RNG Casino, and a sports betting platform, all of which are easy to integrate among one another to provide maximum flexibility".

Could you let us know any further information? (Number of customers, covered regions, revenues..)

"Our company has two offices in Italy, each of them with specific specializations, and a fully owned business development unit in Malta. The company reached a significant penetration in the Italian and Maltese markets, is approaching new targets including Greece, Austria, and Spain, and has recently started to consider US, India and Southeast Asia as approachable markets".

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Meet Our Customers: Rai

A short interview with Espedito Longo, Project Manager (Technological Services) at Rai, one of the most important broadcasting organizations in Europe.

Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Rai is the owner of the Italian national public service radio and television broadcasting license, and one of the most important communication firms in Europe. The company has the ability to conceive, design, and develop contents (which include news, movies for cinema and TV, TV formats, and others) to distribute through a wide range of media including Sat TV, DTT, and the Internet. The main objective of Rai Net, fully owned by Rai and founded in June 1999, is to develop and improve the web as a channel for effectively promoting and easily distributing the aforementioned contents to all Italians".

 Could you let us know any further information?

"Rai employs more than 10,000 people, serves over 16 million families as paying users, and owns more than 1,500 branded websites (for entertainment, news, or service) that attract an overall average of 8 million unique visitors a month. The several apps for smartphones and tablets published by Rai recorded more than 900,000 download since their launch dates. In 2011, Nielsen Media Research revealed a significant decrease in annual aggregated advertising revenues (-4%), excluding the web specifically, which recorded +12.3% compared to the previous period. The consolidation of this channel in terms of usage volumes and popularity, and the related capacity to raise growing investments from advertisers, increased the position of the web within the group’s strategy and offer".

Monday, April 8, 2013

Meet Our Customers: IG

A short interview with Ivan Gowan, Head of IT Development at IG, the world’s first financial spread betting company.
Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Company's core businesses are Contracts for Difference (CFDs) and Spread Betting".

 Could you let us know any further information?

"IG Group (LSE:IGG), headquartered in London, began its activity in 1974 as the world’s first financial spread betting company. In the first half of 2012, IG Group recorded GBP 366.8M (+17.3% from the previous area) in trading revenues and GBP 185.7M in profit before tax. With offices in 14 countries across five continents, we execute more than five million transaction a month for over 140,000 global clients".

Monday, March 18, 2013

Meet Our Customers: OptionMonster

A short interview with Danny Maguire, VP Program Management Office at OptionMonster, a Chicago-based financial company that provides private investors with insight, ideas, and education on the US equities and options market.
Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"optionMONSTER® is a Chicago-based company that provides stock market insight, option trade ideas, and options education to meet the needs of do-it-yourself investors.
tradeMONSTER™, a powerful online trading platform for active stock, option and futures traders who demand professional grade online trading tools, has been launched in 2008, separated from but affiliated with optionMONSTER®.
stockMONSTER®, founded in 2006, is the third member of the family and helps self-directed investors to read news and analysis in order to invest with confidence".

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lightstreamer's customers dominated the Shares Awards 2012

We are very excited to announce that several Lightstreamer's customers in the financial industry, where our product consolidated its success and value, have been awarded for the coveted Shares Awards 2012 on November 15, 2012 at London's Grovenor House Hotel.

This prestigious UK's financial services gala reached its 11th edition this year, and it's certainly recognized as one of the most widely known and desired prizes as a clear benchmark of excellence and innovation across the industry.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Meet Our Customers: Bùssola do Investidor

A short interview with Frederico Skwara, Founder & CEO at Bùssola do Investidor, a website focused on providing tools and content to individual investors, within a social environment.
Let’s talk about your organization. What is your core business?

"Bússola do Investidor is a website focused on providing tools and content to individual investors, within a social environment. We offer real time quotes, interactive charts for technical analysis, a portfolio manager and contents related to investments, such as news and articles".

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On iOS URL Connection Parallelism and Thread Pools

The problem

Did you know iOS has a limit on the number of concurrent NSURLConnections to the same end-point? No? Maybe you should, we discovered it the hard way.

Create a new single-view app project on Xcode and copy the following snippet inside the viewDidLoad event of your view controller: