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Starting from the very beginning with Sierra Chart

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  #1 (permalink)
 westernwind 
Cardiff, UK
 
Experience: Beginner
 
Posts: 16 since Mar 2021
Thanks: 17 given, 20 received

I already made a general post in the "introduce yourself" thread. I'm here to explore how to actually get started when you have no experience in futures, no account, no data, and no charting software. Hopefully this will be useful to others finding themselves in the same boat in the future.

I'm very much a beginner in these markets. In fact I have long professional experience in equities, so why not trade futures and not stocks? My personal experience makes me cautious about a few things.

1) The impact of stock-specific news
2) The whole PDT thing, potentially
3) Liquidity in smaller (more interesting) stocks
4) Borrow availability/shorting rules

That still doesn't leave me with a clear idea of what I actually want to trade: there are so many futures instruments available!

I do know that I want to use the simulator and/or just watch prices for a while. Many months at least, possibly a year or two. I'm in no hurry.

If do get to the point of opening a live account, I plan to start very small. I don't need to earn my living from this, so there's no point taking big bets until I'm ready. (When I daytraded stocks I found the difference in psychological terms between simulated positions and the real thing was huge, so I want to minimise that stress.)

This all kind of suggests I should be looking at E-minis/micros.

Having said all that, if I don't get serious about trading and treat it as a real business (I should say that it's also been an interest of mine for 20 years) then I won't learn and develop. So I need proper data and some charts.

Last time I daytraded I was using ButtonTrader (RIP) with TWS, NinjaTrader was the up-and-coming lightweight contender, and I don't remember Sierra Chart being there at all. Times have changed. There's been a lot of positive feedback on SC here on FIO, and I've read some useful threads from generous people like Trembling Hand and tomgilb. No doubt there's a lot more great stuff out there for me to wade through, which is another reason I took out the Elite membership - seemed wrong not to given the value.

So. This afternoon I downloaded SC - which is why the post is here in this section - and started the trial. I can see there's a lot of power under the hood, and most of it tucked away where it's not easy to find. Still, the basics are working smoothly so far.

Given that I don't actually want a live, funded account at this point (also I'm in the UK, which may make a difference), I'm thinking that maybe the best approach might be to get the standard SC service and pay pro exchange fees for just the E-minis. That would be $26 and I think $47 or something monthly, so $70-80 per month in total. Not too bad. But obviously it would limit me to what I can look at. No forex, I guess.

I've got a busy schedule with the day job over the next few days, but hope to spend a bit of time learning how to get things working with SC, and pondering my options regarding data services and accounts.

Anyway, bit of a rambling opening, but hope everybody has had a good start to their weeks...

WW

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  #2 (permalink)
 westernwind 
Cardiff, UK
 
Experience: Beginner
 
Posts: 16 since Mar 2021
Thanks: 17 given, 20 received

The plan is something like this.

- Get data and charts up and running
- Understand the mechanics of futures
- Explore and analyse price action
- Begin trading on the simulator
- Open and fund a live account
- Take real but "baby steps" trades
- Make profits, small ones are fine
- Avoid blowing up

Makes it looks so easy, doesn't it?

Still thinking about data. The E-mini and E-micro instruments seem to require CME exchange fees, looks like $42 a month. I'm not a professional, but I don't have a funded account. $42 a month wouldn't be a major issue, but would prefer to avoid it if I can at this stage.

There are lots of Sierra Chart help pages, and they are sometimes unclear and occasionally slightly threatening in tone. You get the feeling that a slight mis-step in your application could end up with the SC support team knocking on your door late at night with wrecking bars in their hands. Anyway, one of these pages is " Easy Solution to CME Funded Trading Account Requirement".

On that page it says "The solution is to use the Sierra Chart Trading Technologies based Order Routing Service. When you use this service it is then known to the Sierra Chart server, that you have a funded trading account and we can validate this". That sounds promising, but what happens if you don't have a funded account?

Well, at the bottom of the same page it says: "This solution is also recommended when you want to use the Sierra Chart Simulated Futures Trading Service with real-time data and you do not have a funded futures trading account. This is an easy way to obtain the real-time CME Group data at the lower cost nonprofessional fees with a minimum trading account balance."

But it doesn't say how to go about that. There are lots of references to opening accounts and telling SC your account details, but just the one to "...and you do not have a funded futures trading account". I'm going to have to look into that more carefully.

This week I have been running the trial version of SC in the background as I work. It doesn't seem to use many resources at all, and does do badly behaved things like grab the focus at unexpected times. The charting is not always intuitive, but it's flexible. There's a ton of studies. My aim is to use fewer rather than more, but it's nice to know they're available.

WW

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  #3 (permalink)
magicTurtle
Bristol + England
 
 
Posts: 30 since Feb 2021
Thanks: 22 given, 24 received



westernwind View Post
I already made a general post in the "introduce yourself" thread. I'm here to explore how to actually get started when you have no experience in futures, no account, no data, and no charting software. Hopefully this will be useful to others finding themselves in the same boat in the future.

I'm very much a beginner in these markets. In fact I have long professional experience in equities, so why not trade futures and not stocks? My personal experience makes me cautious about a few things.

1) The impact of stock-specific news
2) The whole PDT thing, potentially
3) Liquidity in smaller (more interesting) stocks
4) Borrow availability/shorting rules

That still doesn't leave me with a clear idea of what I actually want to trade: there are so many futures instruments available!

I do know that I want to use the simulator and/or just watch prices for a while. Many months at least, possibly a year or two. I'm in no hurry.

If do get to the point of opening a live account, I plan to start very small. I don't need to earn my living from this, so there's no point taking big bets until I'm ready. (When I daytraded stocks I found the difference in psychological terms between simulated positions and the real thing was huge, so I want to minimise that stress.)

This all kind of suggests I should be looking at E-minis/micros.

Having said all that, if I don't get serious about trading and treat it as a real business (I should say that it's also been an interest of mine for 20 years) then I won't learn and develop. So I need proper data and some charts.

Last time I daytraded I was using ButtonTrader (RIP) with TWS, NinjaTrader was the up-and-coming lightweight contender, and I don't remember Sierra Chart being there at all. Times have changed. There's been a lot of positive feedback on SC here on FIO, and I've read some useful threads from generous people like Trembling Hand and tomgilb. No doubt there's a lot more great stuff out there for me to wade through, which is another reason I took out the Elite membership - seemed wrong not to given the value.

So. This afternoon I downloaded SC - which is why the post is here in this section - and started the trial. I can see there's a lot of power under the hood, and most of it tucked away where it's not easy to find. Still, the basics are working smoothly so far.

Given that I don't actually want a live, funded account at this point (also I'm in the UK, which may make a difference), I'm thinking that maybe the best approach might be to get the standard SC service and pay pro exchange fees for just the E-minis. That would be $26 and I think $47 or something monthly, so $70-80 per month in total. Not too bad. But obviously it would limit me to what I can look at. No forex, I guess.

I've got a busy schedule with the day job over the next few days, but hope to spend a bit of time learning how to get things working with SC, and pondering my options regarding data services and accounts.

Anyway, bit of a rambling opening, but hope everybody has had a good start to their weeks...

WW

Hi, if you are happy with the delayed data feed, it comes with service 3 or 5 (you get 1 month free of package 5 when you first pay for service 3). Package 10&11 include denali (+10$). I don't know if you can just pay for the exchange data feed and avoid paying denali: I think you have to pay the denali AND CME/CBOT (https://www.sierrachart.com/index.php?page=doc/DenaliExchangeDataFeed.php).

For forex I understand you get non-delayed for free (when you pay for service 3 at least) as well for CFD: https://www.sierrachart.com/index.php?page=doc/Packages.php

AMP futures, if you ask them for their comissions, have package 3 for free, and package 5 for 25$ (I think It does NOT include Denali or CME data feed, Denali should be $10 and you get the CME pricing (https://www.sierrachart.com/index.php?page=doc/DenaliExchangeDataFeed.php), and you still have to pay .10$ on TT order routing) https://www.ampfutures.com/platforms/sierra-chart/

albeit i don't know how it works with a pro account.

SierraFutures (https://sierrafutures.stage5trading.com/) have free TT order routing, but I think you still have to pay for SC/Denali

I had to spent about a week just reading the documentation, and i still only know about 20% of everything it can do. Amazing little thing. Sierra Chart has been on since 1996, so quite a long history they got. It is extremely complicated, but it can do stocks, futures and forex (and probably many more things i don't know exist). The studies like current price line, and text studies (for bid/ask prices, daily P/L, closed P/L, etc) might come in handy if you are wondering.

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  #4 (permalink)
magicTurtle
Bristol + England
 
 
Posts: 30 since Feb 2021
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westernwind View Post
The plan is something like this.

- Get data and charts up and running
- Understand the mechanics of futures
- Explore and analyse price action
- Begin trading on the simulator
- Open and fund a live account
- Take real but "baby steps" trades
- Make profits, small ones are fine
- Avoid blowing up

Makes it looks so easy, doesn't it?

Still thinking about data. The E-mini and E-micro instruments seem to require CME exchange fees, looks like $42 a month. I'm not a professional, but I don't have a funded account. $42 a month wouldn't be a major issue, but would prefer to avoid it if I can at this stage.

There are lots of Sierra Chart help pages, and they are sometimes unclear and occasionally slightly threatening in tone. You get the feeling that a slight mis-step in your application could end up with the SC support team knocking on your door late at night with wrecking bars in their hands. Anyway, one of these pages is " Easy Solution to CME Funded Trading Account Requirement".

On that page it says "The solution is to use the Sierra Chart Trading Technologies based Order Routing Service. When you use this service it is then known to the Sierra Chart server, that you have a funded trading account and we can validate this". That sounds promising, but what happens if you don't have a funded account?

Well, at the bottom of the same page it says: "This solution is also recommended when you want to use the Sierra Chart Simulated Futures Trading Service with real-time data and you do not have a funded futures trading account. This is an easy way to obtain the real-time CME Group data at the lower cost nonprofessional fees with a minimum trading account balance."

But it doesn't say how to go about that. There are lots of references to opening accounts and telling SC your account details, but just the one to "...and you do not have a funded futures trading account". I'm going to have to look into that more carefully.

This week I have been running the trial version of SC in the background as I work. It doesn't seem to use many resources at all, and does do badly behaved things like grab the focus at unexpected times. The charting is not always intuitive, but it's flexible. There's a ton of studies. My aim is to use fewer rather than more, but it's nice to know they're available.

WW

Yeah, if you are a pro by CME standards, you will have to pay the pro fee without a funded account: https://www.sierrachart.com/index.php?page=doc/DenaliExchangeDataFeed.php

There are two simulators, one is for replay of charts, and the other you need to add and configure a simulated account on your control panel on SC website. The account balance you need to modify in the app, and checking the modify balance checkbox on the website. It's quite complicated, as everything SC. I have found the "replay" simulation to be quite unreal (insta-flatten, no slippage on market orders, etc) but the delayed simulation seem to calculate a bit better your position on the queue, and you get slipage with market orders, and doesn't insta-flat positions (like ninja trader or tradovate do, for example).

I don't know why is grabbing the focus at unexpected times, that has never happened to me before. perhaps (windows 10) you are putting your mouse pointer on the tray icon? If you can replicate the issue you should issue a bug report. I have submited bug reports and they were able to replicate it and did solve it next release.

Haha, yeah. It's 0% intuitive. You need to do a lot of customization. The good side is that it allows a LOT of customization, AND you can save the chartbooks and the studies, even share them!

A lot of the studies are things like "current pice line" or text studies to display open P/L, daily P/L, bid/ask, etc. You can also combine studies together (like a EMA on top of volume) and sometimes you need to (like to display text for bid/ask prices, you need a text study and display bid/ask prices).

Every tool (like drawing, etc) can have more than a dozen of customizations, and you can totally customize the options that appear when you right click on the chart.

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  #5 (permalink)
 bobwest 
Site Moderator
Sarasota FL
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: Sierra Chart
Trading: ES, YM
 
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Posts: 6,447 since Jan 2013
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Looks like my post about the professional fee was lost in the FIO recent data center outage.

Short version:

CME requires traders who manage money for others to pay a higher fee for data, mainly because they think they can get it, and they can. It's an income stream for the exchange. These are the true "professionals" under CME rules.

CME also gets a small fee for every trade that is executed, so they don't get that income if you don't have a live, funded broker account to place trades from. So, arbitrarily, they chage you the same "professional fee" if you want live (non-delayed) data, even though you clearly are not a professional in this case. They have that fee handy, so they use it. Simple as that. The difference is in the hundred dollar range per month, and you don't get anything you need, since you won't be executing live trades on the exchange with no brokerage account.

If you are not an actual professional in the money-managing sense, and if you don't have a broker account yet, there is no reason to ever pay the professional fee:

- You don't really need live data just to get used to the markets and to practice trading. If you want it anyway, CME has a two-week free offer (obtainable through SC) that can be extended another teo weeks on request.

- If you just forget about live data, you can get 10 or 11 minute delayed data from SC that is fine to practice with. Their basic option (about $26/month) has it built-in. You can trade in simulation mode, with the simulation executed on your local computer. If you want to get more fancy, you can sign up to have your simulated trades executed on a special remote server, which may have more realistic fills. (I forget what this is called.) I have used both and both are good enough to get started.

As in everything else, Sierra Chart documentation of these options is hard to follow and sometimes not too well-organized, although it's all there if you dig for it.

Hope this is helpful.

Bob.

When one door closes, another opens.
-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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  #6 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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westernwind View Post
There are lots of Sierra Chart help pages, and they are sometimes unclear and occasionally slightly threatening in tone. You get the feeling that a slight mis-step in your application could end up with the SC support team knocking on your door late at night with wrecking bars in their hands.

You do get the feeling they will do this.


westernwind View Post
On that page it says "The solution is to use the Sierra Chart Trading Technologies based Order Routing Service. When you use this service it is then known to the Sierra Chart server, that you have a funded trading account and we can validate this". That sounds promising, but what happens if you don't have a funded account?

Well, at the bottom of the same page it says: "This solution is also recommended when you want to use the Sierra Chart Simulated Futures Trading Service with real-time data and you do not have a funded futures trading account. This is an easy way to obtain the real-time CME Group data at the lower cost nonprofessional fees with a minimum trading account balance."

But it doesn't say how to go about that. There are lots of references to opening accounts and telling SC your account details, but just the one to "...and you do not have a funded futures trading account". I'm going to have to look into that more carefully.

I believe this is an option where you open an account with the broker AMP with a hundred bucks (maybe two hundred), and then, volla!, you have a funded broker account. All you have to do is tie up some money you wouldn't tie up otherwise, to get real-time, no-delay data, which you don't actually need.


westernwind View Post
This week I have been running the trial version of SC in the background as I work. It doesn't seem to use many resources at all, and does do badly behaved things like grab the focus at unexpected times. The charting is not always intuitive, but it's flexible. There's a ton of studies. My aim is to use fewer rather than more, but it's nice to know they're available.

WW

SC is very light-weight, very light on consuming computer resources, very fast, and does not get bogged down if you give it a lot to do. It also will do almost anything but wash your car and walk your dog, and it might do those too -- maybe I just haven't found them in the documentation yet.

Bob.

When one door closes, another opens.
-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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magicTurtle
Bristol + England
 
 
Posts: 30 since Feb 2021
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bobwest View Post
You do get the feeling they will do this.

Haha, take a look at what they say when you ask for support:


Quoting 
In order to provide the best quality of support and technical excellence, the majority of support is provided by senior Sierra Chart engineers.

Therefore, in order to not unnecessarily burden Sierra Chart engineers and take away time for our software development:

Is there a need to post this question or request? Think twice before you post. And first make an attempt to consult the documentation.
Can you rephrase it in a way which simplifies it or makes it more clear? Can you make it more short and concise? It is best to keep it short and concise and if more details are needed, we will ask for them.
Have you included files which were not requested by Sierra Chart support and may be considered unnecessary? If so, then remove those.
If you have multiple questions/issues which are closely related, then present only one since the answer will likely answer the other ones.
If you are new user and you have a lot of questions, then start with no more than 2-3 at a time. And consult the documentation as much as possible. Any further questions at a time will not be responded to.
Use the Save Draft button below to save this as a draft and think about it further.
Do not provide to support, videos, multiple screenshots, Message Logs, excess information unless specifically requested or directed to by the documentation. It is best to remove those and if Sierra Chart support needs further information we will ask.
It is important to understand, that you do not have an entitlement to support on demand any time you make a posting. Based upon what you pay for Sierra Chart, the nature of the request, and how much time you have taken from us previously, we may decline support.
If this message is only a thank you, then click here to be taken back to the thread. You can just press the Thank you button under the relevant post(s).

The Sierra Chart Support Board is not a place simply to be posting at will, anytime something comes to your mind. If you have a genuine question/issue and need help, then it is fine to post and we do want to help with basic issues and learn about any issues or improvements that need to be made. Consider whether you want to make this a "User Discussion / Programming Help" to discuss among other users. It is important to think twice before you post in order for this environment to be manageable by Sierra Chart or make the post a "User Discussion / Programming Help".

But, you know, you have to be extremely good at what you do to be able to literally say to your customers: fuck you and your stupid questions, learn how to read or go use tradovate or whatever shit you have with your IB

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 westernwind 
Cardiff, UK
 
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Posts: 16 since Mar 2021
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magicTurtle View Post
Haha, take a look at what they say when you ask for support:
But, you know, you have to be extremely good at what you do to be able to literally say to your customers: fuck you and your stupid questions, learn how to read or go use tradovate or whatever shit you have with your IB

Agree, and I kind of respect that. They know they have a good product and competitive charges, and if you don't like it, well...

It's the mindset of being ready to fire the client, instead the other way round.

Had a busy week with my day job, but going to take another look at SC packages this weekend as the trial runs out next week.

WW

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 westernwind 
Cardiff, UK
 
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Posts: 16 since Mar 2021
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I've signed up for the advanced package and configured the trading simulator. Had a bit of a false start when I couldn't adjust the balance, but realised I had missed an obscure setting (I mean, aren't they all?) in one of the screens, and once I had enabled that it worked fine.

I used to spend hours in Excel every day, including a lot of VBA, and I've done quite a bit of work in R and Python, but I'm still trying to get my head around the SC spreadsheet paradigm.

I can see how to dump the data from a chart to a spreadsheet, manipulate it, and return it to the chart. That works fine.

What isn't clear to me is whether I can take data in a different timeframe, such as daily data when my chart is 5M, and extract a few bars to a spreadsheet. Let's say I want to be aware of where the daily EMA9 is right now, without actually plotting it on my chart. Ideally I'd like to have a small patch of a spreadsheet with that calc in it so I can refer to it when I want to.

It's early days. Just need to do a bit of work to learn the ropes.

WW

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 steve2222 
Auckland, New Zealand
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Sierra Chart
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Trading: Whatever moves in my timezone
 
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westernwind View Post
..................

I used to spend hours in Excel every day, including a lot of VBA, and I've done quite a bit of work in R and Python, but I'm still trying to get my head around the SC spreadsheet paradigm.

I can see how to dump the data from a chart to a spreadsheet, manipulate it, and return it to the chart. That works fine.

What isn't clear to me is whether I can take data in a different timeframe, such as daily data when my chart is 5M, and extract a few bars to a spreadsheet. Let's say I want to be aware of where the daily EMA9 is right now, without actually plotting it on my chart. Ideally I'd like to have a small patch of a spreadsheet with that calc in it so I can refer to it when I want to.

It's early days. Just need to do a bit of work to learn the ropes.

WW

FYI F.io member @tomgilb is the resident expert on SC Spreadsheets

Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr, Danish Physicist
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 Trembling Hand 
Melbourne, Land of Oz
 
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westernwind View Post
I used to spend hours in Excel every day, including a lot of VBA, and I've done quite a bit of work in R and Python, but I'm still trying to get my head around the SC spreadsheet paradigm.

I can see how to dump the data from a chart to a spreadsheet, manipulate it, and return it to the chart. That works fine.

What isn't clear to me is whether I can take data in a different timeframe, such as daily data when my chart is 5M, and extract a few bars to a spreadsheet. Let's say I want to be aware of where the daily EMA9 is right now, without actually plotting it on my chart. Ideally I'd like to have a small patch of a spreadsheet with that calc in it so I can refer to it when I want to.

If you have already done programming just make the jump straight to ACSIL and be done with it.

https://www.sierrachart.com/index.php?page=doc/Contents.php

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 westernwind 
Cardiff, UK
 
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Trembling Hand View Post
If you have already done programming just make the jump straight to ACSIL and be done with it.

Thanks Trembling, I see you're too modest to link to your very useful threads on ACSIL here on FIO, but I will be studying those carefully if I do go down that route. It doesn't look that challenging (famous last words?) but I do like the exploratory nature of a spreadsheet.

The whole code/compile/test cycle can feel a bit laborious if you're used to interpreted languages. Question of weighing the pros and cons...

WW

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 westernwind 
Cardiff, UK
 
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steve2222 View Post
FYI F.io member @tomgilb is the resident expert on SC Spreadsheets

Thanks for the confirmation. That's a name I've seen about, both here and on the SC forum.

WW

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 bobwest 
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westernwind View Post
Thanks Trembling, I see you're too modest to link to your very useful threads on ACSIL here on FIO, but I will be studying those carefully if I do go down that route. It doesn't look that challenging (famous last words?) but I do like the exploratory nature of a spreadsheet.

The whole code/compile/test cycle can feel a bit laborious if you're used to interpreted languages. Question of weighing the pros and cons...

WW

I pretty much agree with @Trembling Hand, if we're talking about using the built-in SC spreadsheet interface to create studies. Note that SC can dump data out into an external spreadsheet for you to slice and dice, and it also has it own "spreadsheet" functionality where you use a spreadsheet-like interface to set up commands that execute on the platform's charts or enter trades, a way to do coding without doing code, basically. You can create indicators and automated trading studies this way, instead of using ACSIL.

I never used this because it looked too hard (but I think programming is easy, so what do I know? ) SC also warns that a study created this way will be significantly slower to execute and will take more resources.

As @steve2222 mentioned, @tomgilb has posted extensively on this type of "spreadsheet."

I just wanted to clarify the difference. I get the impression that you are interested in dumping data to an external spreadsheet like Excel, a different proposition, although I imagine there are ways to do that through the spreadsheet command interface (I'm sure you can do it with ACSIL code as well.)

As to the difficulty of ACSIL, it's like anything else -- it's hard until you learn it, then it's easy. They do have a basic study structure they want study code to follow, and understanding that is the key to everything else.

Bob.

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-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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 westernwind 
Cardiff, UK
 
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bobwest View Post
I pretty much agree with [MENTION=16788]I get the impression that you are interested in dumping data to an external spreadsheet like Excel, a different proposition, although I imagine there are ways to do that through the spreadsheet command interface (I'm sure you can do it with ACSIL code as well.)

Thanks for clarifying that, Bob. I wasn't envisaging using an external application. There are two things I'm interested in at this point.

The first is having a little panel in an intraday chart that shows information from different timeframes. I can't see any way to get this without resorting to ACSIL (maybe there is?) except perhaps by automated text object creation, and that could get cluttered. An SC spreadsheet might be a flexible way to do this for ad hoc info, a bit like a scratch pad.

The second is a study that automatically draws lines around two existing lines. For example, you define a channel, and it automatically adds levels above or below the channel, sort of like an automated version of the Horizontal Lines study. You define the top and bottom of the channel, and it slaps something like 23.6%, 38.2%, 61.8%, and 78.6% above and below (just using the Fib as an example). It would be a convenience for some things, and perhaps a nice way to start to get to know ACSIL.

WW

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 tomgilb 
Nashville TN USA
 
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Quoting 
The first is having a little panel in an intraday chart that shows information from different timeframes.

You could use the Study/Price Overlay study on the intraday chart to overlay a study from a different timeframe. This allows you to use a formula on data from other timeframes, using either the Spreadsheet Formula study, or one of the spreadsheet studies.
Note: The Spreadsheet Formula study uses Simple Alert syntax; the spreadsheet studies use spreadsheet syntax.

If you don't need to use a formula on data from other timeframes, you could use the Text Display for Study From Chart study to put the current value of another timeframe on the chart. Use multiple instances as needed.

Quoting 
The second is a study that automatically draws lines around two existing lines.

You could use multiple instances of one of the arithmetic studies, (e.g. Study Subgraph Multiply study), or a single instance of the Spreadsheet Study study.

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