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TradersStudio: the best Systems testing software?

October 19th, 2009 · 5 Comments · Backtest, Development, Software

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.

First impressions

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.

Main Features

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).

Customisation

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.

Data-independent

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

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.

Documentation issues

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.

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • Milktrader

    I also chose TradersStudio for many of the same reasons. Also, the API needs to be improved, clearly.

  • tom

    The manual is really poor. It starts out OK but goes down hill quickly. It brings object oriented code into the picture and barely explains it. Lots of specific instructions saying … push this button, enter this, hit ok…. but doesn’t explain the basic concepts behind what you’re doing in the example. The manual also mentions concepts without explaining them fully.

  • Jez

    Agree with you Tom.
    Overall, after some time using it, I felt TradersStudio was not “up-to-scratch” and why I decided to upgrade to Trading Blox.

  • Paul

    Thanks for writign about your experience with TS and TB here and in other posts.

    Have just bought traders studio also.

    Was concerned before purchase by the disorganized website, repeatedly postponed software update dates and poorly organised manuals (how reliable will the program be if the website / manuals are suboptimal?) and the developers somewhat overeagerness on elitetrader.com but eventually went ahead and bought.

    Went through one of the included systems as per tutorial and things seemed fine. (although one of the provided forex data files caused an error). Imported the Traders studio code for a system I had purchased previously and when I tried to add their fixed fraction position sizing overlay i could not get it to work. Still waiting for a response from technical help. As I’m also still waiting even longer for my software license code I’m not holding my breath for a response from technical support. Further concerned by a post somewhere about a bug in the way TS handles forex slippage supposedly giving falsely more positive results.

    All in all I’m less than sure this program can be relied on.

    I also have been mulling over Blox for some time – cost is a deterrent – but the whole operation seems much more organised and the community of users more professional. I think this may be another good example of you get what you pay for.

    I think I will be consigning TS to the backburner and looking again at TB.

  • Jez

    As per this later post: http://www.automated-trading-system.com/trading-blox-teaser-review/ , I felt the same way about TradersStudio and went for Trading Blox (Builder) and did not regret spending the extra money…

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