Hickling doesn't claim any scientific rigour, but he did have a method for selecting the Github repositories in his 35 repo sample: first he looked at the repos popular with algo traders and quants; then he used stars to work out which other repos were popular; then he ranked them by popularity.
Python still dominates, though, and C++ is still seen as the gold standard for trading programs. "With Python, if you have an idea, you can just sit down and test it in the space of a few minutes," says Hickling. "But for really large projects, Python doesn't have that much advantage because at scale, you have to put lots of controls on your architecture that become cumbersome with Python."
The problem with C++ is always that it's very hard to write says Hickling. "It takes much more effort than Python. C++'s value is that it is both expressive and high performance_. There's few languages that rival it in that way." For this reason, Hickling says you don't broach a C++ project without plenty of thought and ample resources.
One senior banking technologist says it won't catch on in mainstream finance. "I've heard of people using Node.js for the entire back end trading platform as smaller places, but it's just not performant enough for front office applications," he says. "I'd be amazed if anyone's using it for latency sensitive algorithms." Another says Javacript is used for front end GUIs, not trading applications.
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