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Which System Development Platform

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It´s been more than a decade since it´s possible to place a trade online. And nearly a decade since it´s possible to autotrade virtually any trading system through a publicly available software. Technically, today anybody with limited effort can design a trading system, backtest it, turn automated trading on and let the computer to do the trades in live account.

What choice of trading system development platforms do we have? The following list is far from exhaustive, but some of the most popular options are:

Tradestation. Easy to use. The programming language is the proprietary Easy Language. You can describe the trading system in a language which is quite close to describing it in English language. All major stock, futures/options exchanges and forex supported. However, you can use it only with one broker – Tradestation Securities. The software is free to use for brokerage customers, but there is a subscription-only service for $250/month plus data fees.

Metatrader. Widely adopted by forex brokers and traders. There is a proprietary programming language, but it is based on C (Metatrader4) and C# (Metatrader5). The manual rather insufficiently covers even the basic operations and some programming background is helpful. Available to end-users free of charge.

DIY in a general-purpose programming like C, C# or Java. This is the choice of big operators like larger funds.

Other options include: MatLab, X_Trader (Trading Technologies), Wealth-Lab, TraderStudio or Ninja Trader, eSignal, FXtrek, MCFX, . These software platforms, except for X_Trader and Ninja Trader, are not built for automated trading.

Which one is the best? For an individual without programming background or a small organization, I guess that Tradestation would do the job. It’s easy to use. If the strategy is simple enough, the chances are you’ll be able to program it in the shortest possible time with Tradestation. However, no portfolio testing is not available in Tradestation. If you’re looking for a super-simple solution (with limited functionality, though), then nothing gets more simple than Ninja Trader.

Technically, general-purpose programming language provides the most flexibility and versatility. But it is not suitable to everyone. Imagine you’ve a business proposition (a trading strategy), but you ‘ve to express it in fluent Chinese (a language you don’t know). So to make the proposition, you’ve got to learn Chinese first or hire an interpreter. The same is about programming languages – it takes long time to learn and master it, it’s not worth, if you only want to test a few strategies.


Written by A.S.

January 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm

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