Some stock brokers give access to application programming interfaces (API’s) and software development kits (SDK’s) that allow user written programs access to the broker’s services. These can be used to construct automated trading programs, customized front-ends and more. We’ve reviewed all of the current brokers that offer apis, heres what we thought.
We found that the TD Ameritrade was the easiest to use by far. It bases its api off of http requests and sessions, allowing any programming language with access to web request tools to utilize the api. Offering things like historical stock data, real time streaming of ticks and trade execution we vote it number one.
Interactive Brokers is another large brokerage that offers an api. This one is slightly more difficult to use due to the fashion in which it communicates back with the server. It allows trade execution, streaming of stock data and more. It also limits languages to Excel (using DDE or ActiveX), C++, Posix C++, Java, and Visual Basic therefore rendering it number two on our list.
Pinnacle Capital Markets is a lesser known brokerage but also offers an api. The structure of their api isn’t listed on their website but allows streaming of stock data, trade execution and even routing.
MBTrading is another smaller brokerage that offers an api. It is dependent on Microsoft COM Objects and is suggested for use with VB, C and Excel. Due to its non open source leanings we rate this api last.
If you happen to know of other brokers with an api please post them in the comments and we’ll check them out.