How we built the spell checker of financial messages
It was back in the late 1990s when we first confronted the financial messaging nightmare. At the time, a European country central bank had asigned us the project of migrating their software from the local currency to Euro. One of the deliverables was to improve the payment system to support SWIFT messages. Little did we know...
When we finally got all the “encyclopedia” of the rule books from SWIFT and stacked them on our desks, we realized the mess we got ourselves into. It was as if we needed to learn a new language without a teacher. Sure, most of us enjoy a challenge, but this was honestly too much. What we thought would be merely a small task of our big project – just a handful of financial messages, right? – ended up being the real torment of the whole project. In the end, the messaging part had cost us five times the effort we had planned for.
Soon we realized that what we were missing, was something like a “spell checker”. An MS word, so to speak, for financial messages. A tool to verify what we build; if it complies with the thousands of rules and validations of the financial messages.
That's when we decided to turn our tears, agony, and newfound knowledge into something that we would be thrilled to have on our first trip to the financial messages labyrinth. A “magic wand” for all the developers who fight the mighty incomprehensible dragon. An environment that encapsulates all this complicated wisdom and guides the developers step by step to lead them safely throughout their project. A tool to test their messages, to show what the right values are, to explain the workflows. In a few words, to be their analyst and their tester at the same time. But most important of all, reduce the duration of a project from months to weeks.
The success was enormous. Since then, apart from SWIFT MT, many more messages were added. SEPA, ISO20022, CBPR+ specifications, translation capabilities and every day we are adding more. Thousands of developer teams use the FINAPLO to accelerate development and take out the uncertainty. They benefit from our experience and save themselves from the pains we went through. Almost half a million message validations were performed by the tool last year alone. The users love the hundreds of sample messages they can use. The comprehensive validations. The alternative methods to work on their messages – either online or through an API. And in most cases the fact they can just download our code and include it in their own applications and save all the trouble of building it on their own. We are happy to see this developers community grow every day.