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Amibroker vs TradersStudio: comparison

November 16th, 2009 · 9 Comments · Backtest, Software

A couple of weeks ago I downloaded Amibroker to see if it could compute the e-ratio much faster than TradersStudio (it did!). The result of the speed comparison is there and the Amibroker code for the e-ratio is there.
I thought it might be interesting to do a comparison of how easy it is to get on with both platforms as a new user.

Software and manuals

You can download a fully-functioning Amibroker demo (you cannot with TraderStudio and even when you buy it you have to wait for CDs by post!) which contains some limitations (i.e no more than 5 markets back-tested at a time, etc.).
The manuals are all online and very thorough, complemented with additional articles, presentations and other materials. This makes it very handy (again compared to TradersStudio printed 300 page manual – yet incomplete) as you can search them electronically to look for exactly what you need.

Large Community

The Amibroker community seems much wider and as a result there is loads of available scripts for re-use. There is actually a whole library hosted on amibroker website.
There is also much, much more information available on the internet. As a sample test I googled “Amibroker Donchian” vs. “TradersStudio Donchian”: 23,200 results vs. 17 (including this blog!).
Finally the yahoo group is much more active. There are about 10 times more daily messages (although the TradersStudio one can go days without getting a single message). As an example I posted a question related to the custom backtester and got a useful answer the next day.

The platform

It takes a bit of time to get used to the concept and principles of Amibroker. It is quite different from TradersStudio. For example, all afl files are self-contained and might implement indicator, system, back-test procedure, scan and exploration code all at once (although only one part really runs at once – alightly confusing at first). In TradersStudio you can also define functions to be called in other code files; this does not appear possible in Amibroker (you would have to copy/paste the code over and over again). Both platforms allow you to build COM dlls to code up your functions.

The GUI is different but I would not say better or worse than TradersStudio.The charting forms a more central part of the Amibroker platform and just firing up a chart with several indicators is pretty quick. At first glance the money management/portfolio allocation does not appear very rich in Amibroker (in terms of functionality) but I would have to do more testing to confirm this.

AmiBroker screenshot

AmiBroker screenshot

The language to create your own indicators, systems, etc. (AFL: Amibroker Formula Language) is based on C and not very hard to pick up especially with the very useful in-line help – it does help to read the tutorials first (!) to get a grasp of the main keywords/built-in functions.

Data loading

Loading the data extracted from CSI Unfair Advantage was fairly straight-forward and there seems to be a bunch of ready-made interfaces with other data vendors in addition to the Amiquote utility – which allows you import quotes in Amibroker. It seems that there is more flexibility in the type of data fields that can be loaded.

Conclusion

Overall I was pretty pleased at what I was able to achieve in a short amount of time. For some reason I found it very hard to get into TradersStudio whereas Amibroker was easier to tackle (once you understand its working concept).
Obviously I have not explored all the functionalities of either software and this is definitely not an exhaustive review. As a result of all this I will be buying a copy of Amibroker to complement (or replace?) TradersStudio. I am sure both platforms each have their pros and cons so having both is probably a good idea (and not a very costly one since Amibroker costs only $200!).

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9 Comments so far ↓

  • Robert Chevallier

    Not 100% true: in amibroker you don’t need copy and paste.

    You can declare function and you import them thru the #include or #include_once directive.

  • Jez

    Robert,
    Welcome to the blog and thanks very much for the correction. I obviously have to play a bit more with AmiBroker. I have updated the post.
    Cheers -Jez

  • cordura21

    HI Jezz. I always get confused about which package is multi-market and which is multi-system. Do you know if any of these are multisystem, in that you can see what happens with your overall equity curve given the interactions of your different strategies and the money management strategies that you use.

    Thanks a lot, and congratulations for the site, I like it a lot.

    Cheers, Cord

  • Jez

    Cord,
    Thanks for the comments about the blog… These keep me going as well ;-)

    I am more familiar with TradersStudio and I know that it can do multiple systems testing, it can even do “virtual systems” where you monitor a system and take action based on its output (ie only take a trade after the virtual system has had 2 losing trades, only trade one system after its equity curve is over its Moving Average, etc.).
    I do not think that AmiBroker offers this and it might be very awkward to implement I feel (see this thread for more info: http://www.mail-archive.com/amibroker@yahoogroups.com/msg41607.html
    ) and this just made me realise that it is probably a big reason why Amibroker cannot replace TradersStudio…

  • Gary

    Hello

    Your comparison is good but you didn’t mention that Amibroker has some very good addons like wisetradertoolbox which adds neural networks and other things to Amibroker. And also support for alot of different data providers that TradersStudio doesn’t.

    Regards,
    Gary

  • Venky

    Jezz, have you tested TradingBlox as well? How does it compare with Amibroker.
    btw, are you the Jesse Liberty who wrote the C# book?

  • Jez Liberty

    Venky,
    No, I’m not the same Jesse Liberty, even though I am quite fluent in C#. Actually never heard the name… Makes me a feel a bit less “unique” now! ;-)

    To come back to your question, I did not do a straight comparison of Trading Blox with AmiBroker but TB is what I use now. If you look around the blog, you should find articles on it, including this one:
    http://www.automated-trading-system.com/trading-blox-teaser-review/
    Basically, the main reason why I went from AmiBroker to Trading Blox was because of the extra features in term of suite/portfolio backtest.
    ps: not sure if you had checked the archives page before. It was broken and showing only 5 posts per month. Fixed now so you should see the posts that cover Trading Blox.

  • FFRT

    Hi, Nice blog for novice to select a system before investing their time and money. As and when u get time, kindly give your view for RightEdge (RE)(http://www.rightedgesystems.com/)

    Given the choice on relatively easiness to learn the system, speed and more features, (ignoring price) what u prefer as a serious trader at retail / institutional level btw Trading Blox and RightEdge. Is there any other product that u have come across beyond TB and RE. If i mistake not, ur final choice, currently is with TB, and I asking about RE for the first time here for ur view.
    Thx

  • Jez Liberty

    Hi FFRT,
    I have not come across RightEdge before.
    From what I can see from their website, it seems to be a different product from TB: there does not seem to be as much functionaility in terms of backtesting multiple systems together and managing risk/position/allocation at a suite of system level. However, the fact that it supports interaction with multiple brokers for real time trading and is built on .Net is interesting. I wonder how this would compare to NinjaTrader…
    It seems TB is more greared towards back-testing (and with therefore more functionailties on that side) whereas RightEdge is more geared towards real-time trading. So it depends what your goal is.

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