Looking back several years - i think one of the most important decisions you will make is trading platform. Since i have fumbled that decision, id like to share my recommendation.
I started wth Tradestation
I have used TOS
I have tried IRT and Market Delta
I have a multibroker license to multicharts
I have a multibroker license to Ninjatrader
I subscribe to Sierracharts
My advice if you are just starting out - do not pass go, do not collect 200...just go straight to Sierra Chart. My long reasoning is below if you care to read it:
Ninja will suck you in because of all the really great things programmers have done with it. this site is filled with amazing indicators coded by amazing people....
The problem is - it is too damn buggy. I invest probably 5-10 hours/week (probably more) dealing with the application - reloading workspace, having it lock up, reloading charts, etc.
Ninja markets its flexibility of the platform but the first time you have an issue, those neat powerful indicators are blamed.
Personally i have been through the ringer on the platform (I still am) and think that if i had invested half the time i spent trying to troubleshoot it staring at charts..... Perhaps this will be fixed with Ninja 8, perhaps not. I dont know. i really hope so because i have invested so so so much time and money in the platform (i know...sunk costs) and I really do prefer it...but what good is it if it locks up so much?
As we speak Ninja is locking up as ES moves just a little too fast for it.....and i am not taxing it nor do i have a weak computer.
I have had entire days and weeks blown because of Ninja issues and now I just dont trust it.
Great for programming ideas because easylanguage is so easy. much more stable than ninja....but there some minor issues/annoyances with it that just has not gotten me to use it other than for backtesting. I think that may change as more upgrades roll out and I will only use MC for swing trading equities once one more change is made to the market scanner/radarscreen...hopefully in a future update. Intraday its biggest issue for me is not having global drawing objects (ie a line drawn on one security's 15 minute chart show up on its 1 minute chart). If that gets resolved, i might use it intraday.
Sierra does everything that all three platforms do out of the gate without any customization or indicators....It does TPOs, CDelta, Footprints, VolumeProfiles, Composites....the list goes on. I have never had it lock up on me. For 45/month you get everything that all the others offer....stock.
The customer support is top notch....the forum responses are fast.
With virtually NO programming using stock indicators you can easily overlay drawings from one chart on another...show HTF indicators on a chart...all without scripting anything. There is a learning curve but it is not that steep and once you get over it you will be able to do things in the platform that require complex coding in the others.
You can also customize so many things about it...its almost a bit daunting.
Lastly and probably most important you can create and backtest strategies that require very complex coding in the other platforms very very easily....which is great for a newbie. Spend about two hours in the forums and you can easily setup a strategy.
Sierra is far from perfect - my two biggest issues:
Backtesting is slow....even with the new backtest procedure....but thats life because its more accurate.
setting it up to trade using a different data provider from broker will give you a migraine.
I am not bashing the other platforms...i desparately hope Ninja 8 makes it more stable for me....I have tools (jigsaw and some of the Rancho stuff, and those i have developed on my own) i cant get elsewhere.
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I am also hoping NT8 really shines. But the truth is, for advanced traders, one single platform is unlikely to satisfy all of your requirements.
I use multiple platforms and that way I get the best of all worlds.
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true - i definitely need all three....but if i was only allowed one.....it would be sierra.
And i think if i had started on Sierra (and stayed there and really invested the time into learning the platform - note i think the strategy jumping thing for newbies also applies to plaftorms), I would have really knocked time off of my curve.
I would have still bought Ninja and MC (and still recommend them)..... I REALLY WANT NINJA 8 to make me happy
sierra offers a two week trial. the only thing you need to do is learn how to use "Spreadsheet Studies". i am going to begin the long process of moving my charts over to Sierra this weekend (another chunk of hours).
Hopefully Ninja 8 will deliver enough improvements...i really really hope it does.
I cannot stress the importance of stability in platform. The more time you spend screwing around with the platform is less time doing other things. EVERYTHING in your environment impacts your mental state and then performance: workspace, distractions, weather, etc. You dont want your platform to impact your mental state negatively.
I went back and counted...I spent 35 hours over the last 10 days in ninja support forums, reloading worspaces, completing full reinstalls, researching computer upgrades, and sitting with my thumb up my ____ while it locked up. I did not trade after monday because of it...that is three juicy fat trading days LOST.....
In this business there are only so many good trading hours in a week, month and year. lets assume that there are 3 good hours/day and 3 good days/week. that is only 36 hours/month...guess what i just lost 25% of the good hours this month due to charting issues. Think ill make my monthly goal? (hint - probably not). Think ill do well next week trying to get used to sierra again? (hint - i think the odds are lower).
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