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chk999longonly (99.41)

Well That Took Longer Than I Thought

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November 09, 2008 – Comments (3)

When I started this profile I mentioned writing some software to help do some of the analysis tasks, mostly for noticing when a chosen stock was hitting a 52 week high and it was time to close the postion. Finding the time to work on this software turned out to be pretty difficult. The main time sink was the online accounting class I took from BYU. (The class rocked and I really learned a lot, but it took a lot of time. Got a 98% for the overall grade. Go Me!) But there have been a lot of other time sinks too. This job and family stuff really gets in the way of hobbies and projects. After the class ended I made some different technology choices from the original plan and started bending code.

I now have an operational first version. The code name was originally NorthStar, but I don't like that one much any more, so I'll have to find a new name for the operational version. So far functionality is pretty basic. You can create/edit/delete watchlists of stock ticker symbols. The watchlist include a type of check that it does against external financial data. Right now running the check is a manual process (push the button Max!) but will be moved to an automatically scheduled process in a later version. The external financial data source is currently the URL at finance.yahoo.com that lets you send in a query string and returns the data as a Comma Separated Values (CSV) string. They have a lot of data available. It isn't real time, but since I plan to run this in the evening after work that isn't a problem.

For the chk999longonly profile, the check is to look for stocks in the watchlist that are within 5% of a 52 week high or low and display them with the ticker, price, PE and PEG ratio. The ones at a 52 week high get displayed in a green tint and the ones around the 52 week low get displayed in a red tint. I've kept looking for free screening software that would do exactly what I wanted, but haven't found it, so that is why I decided to write my own. More complicated checks will be implemented as I see things that make me curious.

For the geeks in the audience that want to know the details, it is built as a Google Web Toolkit (GWT) app. This is a seriously cool technology that lets you code the GUI in Java classes that look a lot like Swing, but translates it on the fly into Javascript  and HTML. You get the nice type checking of Java, but don't have a heavy client or Applette running in the browser. It runs in Firefox very happily. To the user it looks like a very thick client GUI app that can have drag and drop functionality and stuff like that. To the Browser, it is just a Javascript heavy web page that does Ajax stuff all the time. Currently I'm running in hosted mode for debugging, but the target environment is the client side running as a web page in Firefox and the server side running as a Servelet running in Tomcat and using mySql for the database layer. (I do the object/relational stuff for a living, so I left that part for last as being just some I dotting and T crossing.) Colors, backgrounds, fonts and layout are mostly controlled by a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) so that changes are pretty easy. I lack any artistic talent, so it will take some fumbling around to get a pleasing interface that also gets the work done. 

I won't be releasing this software publically, I have a lot more ideas I want to try out in it and if it ends up generating some alpha, I want to capture it with real money.

 Chris - Software, Scotch and Stocks, life is good!

3 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 09, 2008 at 12:53 PM, milpo (64.78) wrote:

Congratulations!  Just like good Scotch whiskey, your software will be able to "distill" and "clarify" and "alert" investors.  Maybe the etymology of these 3 words will assist you in selecting an alternative name for your software

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#2) On November 09, 2008 at 1:11 PM, Tastylunch (29.39) wrote:

How about "Waverider" for the name of the software? After all you pikc up stocks at the trough and get off at the crest....

hope it works out well for you!

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#3) On November 10, 2008 at 11:27 AM, EnigmaDude (84.94) wrote:

ooh - sweet. A contest to name Chris's new software!  (although I don't get the connection between Scotch and "alert")

I like Waverider.  For some reason though, reading this blog reminded me of the old TV show, Max Headroom. So that's my suggestion for your intelligent, yet quirky object-relational web browser app.

And congrats on the "A" (Personally, I can't imagine enjoying an online accounting class...)

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