I should say “Yes” as I decided to purchase, and now own TradersStudio. For the price ($499), it offers a very decent package for developing and testing automated trading systems.
Why I chose TradersStudio
I did consider a few options before buying TradersStudio (Amibroker, TradeStation, Trading Blox, WealthLab, NinjaTrader) and based on feature analysis, recommendations and actual testing, I settled on TradersStudio.
My requirements were for a standalone platform that would allow me to test any system, with money management and multiple system interaction.
I did hesitate with Trading Blox, which I enjoyed testing (demo version), but in the end the price sorted the argument (Trading Blox is $3,000 for similar functionality).
For more info on what each product offers, I would definitely recommend heading to EliteTrader where many platform comparison posts can be found. Please also feel free to ask me questions in the Comments section below.
Not so good… There is no demo available on the website, you can not download the app from the website once purchased and the manuals you receive after waiting a few days seem quite unprofessional (despite being over 300 pages).
However, the install is quite easy and you can be up and running following examples from the manual in a few minutes.
The app offers some interesting features which help me take the decision:
Integrated Systems testing
TradersStudio uses different hierarchical levels: Instrument, System, Session, Trade Plan. This allows you to test a complete system (i.e. more than simple entry and exit testing). A Trade Plan can contain several sessions, which in turn can contain several systems and instruments with possible interaction between them. Additionally, Money Management options can be tested as part of the Trading Plan. This makes it much more realistic than a collection of independent strategy tests.
There is also to the concept of virtual systems that allow you to run a system in “monitor” mode and only use it for decision making on other “live” systems (i.e. enter a trade in real system only after virtual system posts 3 losing trades).
TradersStudio implements its own Macro language, which appears to be a cross between TradeStation EasyLanguage and Visual Basic. Theoritically you can implement whatever extra functionality you require (indicator, software add-in, etc.). Moreover there is an import tool that automatically converts TradeStation EasyLanguage code, which should allow to reuse available code.
You can basically load data from whatever source you wish in any supported format (any standard text file format will do). I personally use Unfair Advantage from CSI and getting it loaded to TradersStudio was a breeze (see Unfair Advantage posts for more information on CSI UA -> TradersStudio)
Walk forward is a useful concept to use in back-testing to avoid over-optimization and curve-fitting. TradersStudio implements this functionality and runs it automatically which means less manual workaround for you to deal with.
My main grudge is about the manuals. Despite being over 300 pages it is still missing an essential reference guide for programming using their language (there are a few examples but they do not cover the whole range of functionality and much is left to be guessed by the user). It is a “Learning by Example” type of manual which can sound a bit patronising at times.
For that reason I have found it hard to seriously get into TradersStudio… but I have just signed up for the yahoo group dedicated to it and will be spending many hours in front of it very soon!
I will explore TradersStudio in more details as I start using it and share in a later post if you are interested.