Placing Trades with Interactive Brokers using the SumZero Trading API

Placing trades through Interactive Brokers using the SumZero Trading API is a relatively straightforward task, with support for Equity, Futures, and Foreign Exchange orders.  A few examples are below that illustrate how to place orders for the various markets as well as screenshots of Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation (TWS), which is their desktop trading client.  The API interacts with Trader Workstation, and when a trade is placed via the API, the trade will then appear in Trader Workstation where it is routed to Interactive Brokers, and then on to its specified exchange.


Equity Order

In the equity order example below, a connection to the Interactive Brokers client is obtained, which is running on the localhost at port 7999.

A StockTicker object is constructed for Amazon (ticker AMZN), the SumZero library initializes default properties for the ticker such as which exchange to route to.

The next order ID is obtained from the broker, and a TradeOrder object is constructed, specifying the orderId, the ticker symbol for the order, the number of shares, and whether this is a buy or sell order.

The order is then placed with the Interactive Brokers client.

If no other parameters are specified on the order, it is assumed to be a market order which will be placed in the market immediately after it is passed to the broker.

In the example below, we are placing a market order to sell 500 shares of Amazon.

public void placeEquityOrder() {
InteractiveBrokersClientInterface ibClient = InteractiveBrokersClient.getInstance("localhost", 7999, 1);
StockTicker amazonTicker = new StockTicker("AMZN");
String orderId = ibClient.getNextOrderId();
int shares = 500;
TradeOrder order = new TradeOrder(orderId, amazonTicker, shares, TradeDirection.SELL);

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Below is a screen shot of Interactive Brokers Trader Workstation.  There is a line with price information for Amazon stock (AMZN), showing a bid price of $559.02 and an ask of $559.80.  In the line immediately below, the order is visible which was placed by the code above.  A market order to sell 500 shares of Amazon.




Futures Order

Submitting orders for the futures markets is very similar to the equity markets, except a few more parameters need to be specified when building a ticker, such as what month and year that desired futures contract is expiring.

In the example below, we build a new FuturesTicker object for crude oil, specifying the symbol “CL”, and a contract expiration of April 2016.  Also, the exchange needs to be specified for futures, which in this case is NYMEX.

From this point on, the order process is exactly the same as the previous example.  This time however, we’ll place a limit order to buy 5 contracts at $32.50, meaning that the price needs to come down to at least $32.50 for the trade to be executed.

public void placeFuturesOrder() {
InteractiveBrokersClientInterface ibClient = InteractiveBrokersClient.getInstance("localhost", 7999, 1);
//Create a crude oil futures ticker
FuturesTicker futuresTicker = new FuturesTicker();
String orderId = ibClient.getNextOrderId();
int contracts = 5;
//Create the order and send to Interactive Brokers
TradeOrder order = new TradeOrder(orderId, futuresTicker, contracts, TradeDirection.BUY);


The result of the example is illustrated in the screenshot of TWS below.  There is a line corresponding to April 2016 Crude Oil, (CL Apr’16 @NYMEX), which shows a bid price of $33.22 and ask of $33.23.  On the line immediately below, the order that was submitted by the program above is shown.  Buy 5 contracts at a limit price of $32.50.



Foreign Exchange Order

Finally, in the last example I’ll show how to place an order for foreign currencies through the API.

Again, the general process is the same as above, in this example we’ll construct an order to buy 50,000 Euros.

The symbol for the currency ticker is “EUR”, and the underlying currency needs to be set to “USD”.  The exchange where currency trades are executed at Interactive Brokers is “IDEALPRO”.  The amount of the order is set to 50000, and the TradeOrder object is constructed to buy at the market price.

public void placeCurrencyOrder() {
InteractiveBrokersClientInterface ibClient = InteractiveBrokersClient.getInstance("localhost", 7999, 1);
CurrencyTicker eurTicker = new CurrencyTicker();
String orderId = ibClient.getNextOrderId();
int amount = 50000;
TradeOrder order = new TradeOrder(orderId, eurTicker, amount, TradeDirection.BUY);

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The TWS screenshot below shows the EUR row denoted by “EUR.USD”, with a bid and ask price of $1.08695.  The row immediately below shows our order to buy 50,000 EUR at the market price, routed to IDEALPRO



These were some simple examples of various order types that can be submitted to buy/sell equities, futures, and currencies at Interactive Brokers.  More complex order types such as OCO, OSO, FOK, MOC, etc. are possible with the SumZero API, and will be shown in future posts.

twitter: @RobTerpilowski
twitter: @SumZeroTrading
LinkedIn: Rob Terpilowski




Version 1.1.2 of JavaFxPropertyHelper NetBeans Plugin Released

This a minor release of the JavaFxPropertyHelper NetBeans plugin, and will now follow JavaFX best practices by marking any get/set methods as final.


This plugin would create the following methods:

public final String getName() {
    return name.get();

public final void setName( String value ) {

public final StringProperty nameProperty() {
    return name;


The latest release version can either be download from github:
Or the NetBeans plug-in portal page.

Freight Tracking with JavaFX and the NetBeans Rich Client Platform

iconI am super proud of my team who this week, rolled out Version 2.0 of Lynden Navigator to more than 1,000 desktops company-wide.   Navigator allows our freight terminal managers to optimize resource planning by giving them complete visibility to freight that is scheduled to arrive and depart to/from their facility.  In addition, customer service personnel have access to a new Shipment Tracing plugin included in this version which can be used to quickly access current information about customer freight and freight history.

The initial version of the application was built on the NetBeans Rich Client Platform (RCP), utilizing Swing UI components, but version 2.0 includes new functionality implemented with JavaFX.  A screenshot of the new version of Navigator appears below.  The top portion of the application is original portion that is utilizing Swing, and specifically components developed by JideSoft.   The lower portion of the screen is new functionality that has been built utilizing JavaFX.


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JavaFX Toolkit Not Initialized (Solved)

I am attempting to utilize the NetBeans Rich Client Platform (RCP) as a shell to manage plugins for an automated trading application which uses JavaFX for the UI, but no Swing components. As such, I have a module installer class which creates the JavaFX scene, but no TopComponent class which RCP developers are accustom to using. The module class I have created is below.

import org.openide.modules.ModuleInstall;

public class Installer extends ModuleInstall {

public void restored() {

    // create JavaFX scene
    Platform.runLater(() -> {
        Parent root;
        try {
            FXMLLoader fxmlLoader = new FXMLLoader(MainScreen.class.getResource("/com/zoicapital/qtrader/plugin/BasePanel.fxml"));
            root = (Parent) fxmlLoader.load();
            Scene scene = new Scene(root);
        } catch (Exception ex) {

The problem is that when launching the application the following exception is being thrown.

java.lang.IllegalStateException: Toolkit not initialized
at com.sun.javafx.application.PlatformImpl.runLater(
at com.sun.javafx.application.PlatformImpl.runLater(
at javafx.application.Platform.runLater(
at com.zoicapital.qtrader.plugin.Installer.restored(

It turns out that even though Platform.runLater() is being invoked, it does not initialize the JavaFX runtime if it hasn’t already been started.

There are a couple of ways around the issue. The first is to invoke the Application.launch() method, or simply instantiate a new JFXPanel() class (even if it isn’t used for anything). Either action will cause the JavaFX Runtime to start and avoid initialization exception when the application is started.

Monitoring Real-Time Commodity Prices using JavaFX, NetBeans RCP, and Camel

Zoi Capital is a commodity investment firm which trades in the commodity futures markets on behalf of clients, with offices in New York and Seattle. We needed an application which could display the commodities we were currently holding as well as show any open profit/loss of our trades in real-time. In addition, we wanted to display the current performance of our trading strategy (named Telio) along with a comparison of the current performance of the S&P 500 stock index as well as the Dow Jones UBS commodity index.

Trades are placed from the Seattle office, but are monitored throughout the day from the New York office, so the application (which would be running in New York) needed a way to stay up to date with the current trades. The application also needed to be aesthetically pleasing as it was planned to put it on a large 50 inch LCD in the reception area of our New York office, where both staff and visitors could view the current trades and statistics in real time.

I had previously written an automated trading application on the NetBeans Rich Client Platform (RCP), where I had created a number of plug-ins, including a plug-in to connect to Interactive Brokers to retrieve real-time market data. Since I already had the plug-ins available in order to connect to a real-time data feed, it seemed a natural choice to also build the Quote Monitor application on the NetBeans RCP as well. Instead of using the existing Swing components however, I opted for JavaFX in order to give the application a polished look.

In order to get the trade information from the Seattle office to the Commodity Monitor application in the New York office, we made use of Camel to facilitate the communication between the 2 offices. The great thing about Camel is that it provides an abstraction layer for the actual communication mechanism between applications. Since the offices are not networked together we made use of the Camel email component in order to transfer the data from the Seattle office to the Commodity Monitor application. In the future we could move the communication mechanism to web services or JMS simply by changing a property file, with no code changes required as camel takes care of everything else under the hood.

System Architecture

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Trades are placed in the Seattle office, and then emailed to a designated email box which the Commodity Monitor watches (via Camel). Trade information is then imported into the application, at which point it requests real-time quote information of the commodities from Interactive Brokers via their Java API. At this point the application can then update the profit/loss statistics in real-time.

Application Screen Shot

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The grid in the top left portion of the screen displays the performance for our Telio trading strategy for today, for the month of August, and then the year-to-date return of the strategy. The table also shows the same statistics for the S&P 500 stock index and Dow Jones/UBS commodity index for comparison purposes.

Below the table is a candlestick chart displaying the performance of the S&P 500 Index futures for the current day. The chart made use of the charting API in JavaFX as well as CSS. The chart is updated in real-time throughout the day.

Finally, on the right half of the screen is a panel which displays the commodities that we are currently holding with current profit/loss on the trade. For example, we have a current profit of +0.18% since we bought natural gas.

To add additional eye candy to the application, I created a scrolling background with a slightly blurred Zoi Capital logo. The animation was extremely easy to set up in JavaFX, and I’ll post a short how-to blog on animations in the not-too-distant future.

Demo Video

Below is a 3 minute video demo showing the Commodity Monitor application with the animated scrolling background. About 40 seconds into the video an email is sent to the Camel email box, at which point the Commodity Monitor picks up the email and displays the commodities that were sent, and their corresponding profit/loss in real time. Another email is sent at the 2:10 mark that clears most of the commodities from the application.


twitter: @RobTerpilowski

My Interview with on JavaFX, Swing, and the NetBeans Rich Client Platform

I sat down with Jan Stafford of Tech Target at JavaOne in September and discussed our experiences with beginning to migrate to JavaFX from Swing while continuing to use the NetBeans Rich Client Platform (RCP) as the foundation for our application.

I discuss some of the pros of using JavaFX and the NetBeans RCP, such as having the ability to develop very polished looking components using effects such as drop shadows, reflections, and gradients  which may have been do-able in Swing, but were extremely painful and time consuming.  These effects however are baked into the JavaFX framework.

The largest negative at this point has been the learning curve with getting up to speed on Cascading Style Sheets.  Since much of the look and feel of the UI can be applied via CSS, it took a bit of work to learn how to use the style sheets to properly style the UI components.  However, the benefit to using CSS is that the work can be given to a UX/UI developer rather than a Java developer, thus truly decoupling the UI development from the business logic development.

A link to the interview on Tech Target’s website is below.

Interview with Tech Target: JavaFX beats Swing: Changing RIA development platform


twitter: @RobTerp

JavaFX is Eye Candy and I Have a Sweet Tooth. (Another Extreme UI Makeover)

In a previous article I showed a redesigned user interface for our Freight Management System (FMS) application using JavaFX as we begin to migrate away from Swing.  We are continuing to design screens for new functionality in FMS, and in this article I will illustrate a makeover I implemented for this new screen using JavaFX, which we had originally had planned to use Swing when the UI was first designed.

The screenshot below shows the original wireframe mock-up of what will be the new “VFC Recovery” screen within our Inbound Planning module of the FMS application.  This module will be used by our warehouse planning personel to display all “Trips” that will be arriving at their terminal.  A trip could be an incoming truck, ship, rail, or flight which has freight destined for the terminal.  On this screen, inbound planners in our warehouses will have the ability to see these incoming trips by arrival date and time.  This is the first layer of nested tables on this tab.  The next layer of tables below the arrival date, is reserved for each trip.  ie in the example below “TOTE*11027” is a ship which is scheduled to arrive on 07-18-12 08:00.  Expanding the trip table, will show the next level of tables, which are the plans for the freight once it arrives at the terminal.  Expanding this table then would show all the shipping containers (called VFCs) that the inbound planners have assigned to their plans, and finally, the VFC rows in this table can be expanded one last time to display all the shipments within the specified container.  As can be seen, the amount of data displayed to the user can get overwhelming pretty quickly.

Wireframe mock-up of VFC Recovery screen

The first step in a makeover of the VFC Recovery screen was to try to separate the data in a way that was intuitive for the users to navigate while also giving them the information they need to make their planning decisions.  Below is a picture of what was designed during a whiteboard session.  The inbound trips to the Lynden Transport terminal (Anchorage in this case), would be displayed in a table in the top portion of the screen.  The table would contain a summary of information related to the incoming trip, such as the mode of travel (ie truck, rail, barge, etc), as well as the origin of the trip, and anticipated date/time of the arrival.  The user could select a trip in this table, and the details of the trip would be displayed in a section below the table.  The details section would contain additional information about the trip, as well as contain an “Accordion” component which would have a separate section for each Plan that the inbound planners would be putting together.  The user could then expand one of these sections to view details on all of the containers that had been assigned to a particular plan.

Results of UI design whiteboard session

Once again I used the JavaFX design tool, Scene Builder to construct the new user interface.  In addition, I wanted to make use of the open source JavaFX components that are part of the JFXtras project, which are located here.  Components that are in the JFXtras project unfortunately can’t be added to the component palette in Scene Builder, but it was still easy enough to manually add them to the FXML code that Scene Builder generates, at which point Scene Builder will display them in the application’s UI as if they had been part of the component palette.  (Exactly how I accomplished this could be a future blog post.)

Below is a screenshot of the new UI for the VFC Recovery tab.  I took a bit of inspiration from what I had seen at Grand Central Station in New York, with my goal to make the trip arrivals portion of the UI look something like what you may see in an airport or train station. Two components in the JFXtras library were perfect for this task.  I used the DotMatrixSegment component to create the arrival board’s column headers as well as display the terminal where the trips were arriving at, in this case Anchorage.  I then used the Splitflap component to display the actual summary data about the trip, including arrival date/time, the trip ID, the origin and also the mode.  I found a nice brushed metal background, and used inner and drop shadows to give the board a sense of depth. In the screen shot below, the trip that the user had selected is highlighted by giving the row a green background.

The details section below the arrival board is formatted in a similar fashion to the table found in the previous article’s JavaFX makeover.  I used CSS to create the gradients, rounded corners, borders, background, etc for the section header, accordion component, and data table.

JavaFX Mock of VFC Recovery Screen

As mentioned in my previous article, this screen will still reside as a TopComponent within a NetBeans RCP application which will manage our other freight management modules that we will be designing with JavaFX as the UI toolkit.

twitter: @RobTerp

Stamping Version Number and Build Time in a Properties File with Maven

Stamping the version number and the build time of an application in a properties file so that it could be displayed by an application at runtime seemed like it should be a pretty straightforward task, although it took a bit of time to find a solution that didn’t require the timestamp, version, or ant-run plugins.

I started with a version.txt file at the default package level in src/main/resources of my project, which looks as follows.


By default the Maven resources plug-in will not do text substitution (filtering), so it will need to be enabled within the <build> section of the pom.xml file.


Maven does actually define a ${} property which in theory could have been used in the version.txt file, rather than the ${timestamp} property, but unfortunately a bug within Maven prevents the ${} property from getting passed to the resource filtering mechanism.  (issue:

The workaround is to create another property within the pom.xml file and set that new property to the timestamp value, in this case, the property name is “timestamp”, which is used above in the version.txt file.  The is an optional property for (obviously) defining the timestamp format.


   <>yyyy-MM-dd HH:mm</>

Now, when the build is executed we end up with the version number and build time of the application in the version.txt file.

version=1.0.2-SNAPSHOT 15:42

twitter: @RobTerp
twitter: @LimitUpTrading

Freight Management System on NetBeans Rich Client Platform

Lynden is a family of transportation and logistics companies specialized in shipping to Alaska [1] and other locations worldwide. Over land, on the water, in the air – or in any combination – Lynden has been helping customers solve transportation problems for over a century.

The Lynden Freight Management System is a NetBeans Platform application [2] which serves a dual purpose as both a planning and freight tracking tool.

  • The Planning module allows terminal managers to see all freight that is currently inbound to their location as well as freight that is scheduled to depart from their location so they can make the most efficient use of their dock space and resources as possible.
  • The Trace module allows customer service personnel to search for customer account information, view the tracking history of any given freight item in the system as well as display any documents related to the shipment, such as bills of lading or delivery receipts.

NetBeans Platform

Lynden has benefited from the NetBeans Platform as it allows developers to focus on the business logic of our applications rather than the underlying “plumbing”.  We are able to leverage built-in support for event handling, enable/disable functionality on UI controls, dockable windows, and automatic updates for our application with minimal work compared to rolling our own framework.

We chose to go the desktop application route as we have a number of existing desktop applications that this application will need to interface with, as well as a commercial set of rich UI components that we have been using for some time now. For the initial deployment, we will be pushing the application installer out to employees PCs via the Landesk remote desktop administration tool.  Future updates to various modules within the application will be done via the update center functionality built into the NetBeans Platform.