My quest for a great platform for a Discretionary Traders.
I apologize in advance if this topic has been covered ad nauseum. I thought I would share my quest, and invite comments and suggestions.
I've been with Tradestation for 4 years before getting out. It's like being in a cocoon. It's a one-stop shop and it's very easy to dismiss or become oblivious to other options.
As indicated above, I am a discretionary trader. My orientation is market structure/price action. I am sure I am missing a lot with market profile, Tflow charts, etc., but for now the things I require in a platform:
1) Reliability and stability of operation
2) Handling regular charts well (including tick charts) and fast refresh of data.
3) Intuitive interface (so that rules out Esignal)
4) A good set of drawing tools (I often annotate my charts heavily, so simple tool like arrow line is really nice to have)
5) Market Replay with Simulator (since I consider it a great training tool).
6) Preferrably, compatibility with DTN IQFeed, which is my feed of choice.
7) Ability to import historical tick and end-of day data, and local historical data storage.
Trade execution is not as important since I quite happy with InfinityAT Platform.
After searching around, the platforms that seem closest to fitting the bill are
Multicharts DT - absolutely fantastic, but they don't have the built in simulator. I really hope that they add it soon. I love their market replay implementation. I felt at home with this platform within an hour of downloading it. Beautiful looking charts. Great Data management. I currently use it for charting, because it's free, while I am doing research for other platforms.
NinjaTrader - a lot of people hate it. I wonder if it's mostly systems traders. Perhaps a discretionary trader with a few charts open can get by without it crashing??? It is free, and I recently started using it along with multicharts while researching other platforms. It has all the features I require, but not always well implemented. I often feel like I have to do 5 steps, when 2 should suffice. Maybe I have to get used to it more. The negative is that I am not at all enamored of their replay file set-up. That special, super secret format, means that you're at the mercy of their data. The up side is they supply level II with the replay files making replay session that much closer to reality. Can any of the discretionary traders give me feedback on the stability of the platform when it's not running systems, backtesting, etc.?
Trade Navigator - I had a 30 day trial. Beautiful charts, intuitive, great drawing tools, very small learning curve, fantastic market replay/simulator function. The problem is that you can only use their inhouse data. I did some testing (admittedly non-scientific, but satisfied me), and found that real time data is the slowest of all I tested, and you can see that there are ticks that are not being recorded. (i.e. filtered?). That's a bummer. If I could do Trade Navigator with IQFeed, this would be my choice. Also customer service and technical support are very nice, but often give you pat answers which are not very helpful.
Sierra Chart - I had limited exposure, but it's next on my list to try. It's not exactly pretty, but as so many have mentioned, after short while you begin to discover that you can do almost anything with it. Also, has incredible reputation for stability. My experience with customer support has been unreal, even though it's all email and support forum. These guys answer questions like lightning at all hours of the day. The answers have been helpful, and they direct you to the right documentation to clarify your issue.
Investor RT (also Market Delta) - I would use the cheapest version - $40. I admit that I don't know much about it or how it stacks up against others. I was impressed by the amount of videos on their site, but I haven't had a chance to check it out. If anyone can give me an idea of what makes this platform stand out, I'd be grateful.
Ensign - It's hard not to be interested in a piece of software that was around in some form since 1981. I heard good things about it, but have not had a chance yet to take it for a test drive. I wish their trial period was longer than 7 days. From what I heard, they have good tech support. I checked out the videos on their market playback/simulator: it looks excellent. One other thing I notice is that they maintain a lot of playback files for the stock futures, and unlike NinjaTrader, those files can be converted back and forth to historical data format. I will have to give them a try as well, but again, if anyone uses this forum, I would be happy for a thorough feedback.
It would be nice to settle on a great platform that meets all my needs once and for all, but I suppose I will have to go through this process of trial and error to find the one that fits the bill the closest.
While I am playing around with these platforms, I look forward to everyone's comments. But please be gentle with me :-) I only closed out my 4 year account with Tradestation in January, so it's all new.
The following user says Thank You to Paladin for this post:
Paladin, you may find that no one platform is going to be perfect. You'll need to prioritize things. Plus, what works great for me may not work at all for you, and so on.
Sierra, Ninja and MultiCharts all have great strengths and relatively few weaknesses. NinjaTrader has the largest install base of the three, but MultiCharts can tap into the vast majority of EasyLanguage indicators written for TradeStation, so from that standpoint MultiCharts would be the largest. Sierra has fanatical support and is rapidly evolving their product, probably much faster than anyone else that I know of, but their platform is quite advanced and the learning curve can be steep.
With regards to Investor/RT or MarketDelta, I'm a novice. I've been working with Chad at Linn Soft and he is a fantastic guy, top notch. If you are doing any type of volume analysis or footprint charts, then these are no-brainer choices, and just couple them with a premium feed like IQFeed and your set.
I think people do have "love/hate" relationships with their platform. I know I do, after all I am interfacing with it 8-12 hours a day, and I pay money for it, and "it" controls my trading account in a way, so sure my expectations are extremely high and it is easy to get frustrated or "hate" a product when it crashes on you. With regards to people hating NT, I've been there. But if you read many threads on this forum you'll see that many people have no issues with NT, and in fact NT has the largest support base here on futures.io (formerly BMT).
In the end, there is no perfect platform. You may want to buy two or three. I like to keep things simple, but you also have to realize this is a business and often times it makes no business sense to put all your eggs in one basket. So instead of searching for a perfect platform, I would focus on excluding a few from your list leaving you with two great choices at the top, and get both.
If you go that route you'll want to make sure you pick a broker and data feed that works with both platforms. IQFeed is excellent for data if you want a premium feed. Trading Technologies has industry wide support for execution. Those are just examples to get you started. Talk to a couple of brokers and go with the one who you feel the most confident in.
Ask for trial extensions where necessary. I believe everyone you listed would work with you on a trial extension if you provide them some feedback during your trial and let them know you are doing comparisons and need extra time.
Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.
Need help? 1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first. 2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses. 3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make. 4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance. 5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers. 6) Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.
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The following 2 users say Thank You to Big Mike for this post:
Ensign is very good. I have Ensign since I started to trade abut 3 years ago. You are right support is great. Charts are great. Supported by many data feeds. The only issue I have I cannot find anyone who can convert my current tools from Ninja to Ensign.
In fact I continue to use Ensign when I do my weekly home work since I can use it with continue constructs. By the way Ensign priced very nicely. I only pay I think $50.00 and since I get free data from my broker it is great solution. All in all if you are one who does not need indicators to trade with Ensign is great solution. One last point on the same computer Ninja would crash every day but Ensign never.
I hope this would help.
The following user says Thank You to tickvix for this post:
TradeStation: Good software company piss poor brokerage firm.
MultiCharts: TradeStation without the brokerage firm, which is always an improvement. You know easy language, you can write indicators in MultiCharts.
Trade Navigator: Kinda like dating a stripper, looks good when you first see it, hard to live with on a daily basis. Hopefully they have made improvements over the years. I evaluated it years ago, deemed it unfit for real trading.
Sierra Charts; Been around for a long time, solid system, loved by the technically inclined , intimidating for the non-technically inclined.
Ninja Trader v7: Some people swear by it, others swear at it. Big Mike hates it, I like it. But then again, I also like Big Mike ... so there ya go. I think NT v7 is much more stable than NT v 6.5 was. I'm not married to NT v7, I just haven't found anything else that is so much better that I would consider changing platforms .
BackTesting: I have never found a correlation between back testing and reality in either NT or TradeStation.
This was done in NinjaTrader ... but I get a lot of compliments on it....
I'm just a simple man trading a simple plan.
My daddy always said, "Every day above ground is a good day!"
I use NT7 as of a couple of months ago, prior to that NT6.5 for about 18 months. I have never been interested in backtesting or strategy development and so I suspect I have avoided all the issues with that. Never had any issues with NT as a discretionary trader with a workspace of about 10 charts. This is a good thing because I have a lifetime licence and it would #hit me to need to change over