Ensign Windows and eSignal Data

Discussion in 'Data Sets and Feeds' started by Lancer, Jun 15, 2001.

  1. Lancer


    eSignal's datafeed is excellent, but eSignal's software is very basic. Charts are rough and except for the ability to draw a line, there are no line tools or line studies. Features and capabilities are lacking in all layout windows. As an alternative, I'm considering Ensign for Windows with the eSignal feed. Anyone using Ensign care to comment on the product? Strong features? Weak features? eSignal software comparison? Support?

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    If anyone else is curious about Ensign:
  2. p2


    I'm in the process of getting rid of my Tradestation Pro system because of it's poor data feed so I've been trying out eSignal with Ensign.

    I like the eSignal feed a lot. I also downloaded the Ensign software to trial but I have to admit that I found it a bit clunky to use. It seems adequate and it contains a scripting language which I am hoping I can use to reprogram some custom indicators which I use.

    However the user interface on Ensign is very unintuitive and it is not easy to create adhoc charts.

    I would also like to hear some comments from other Ensign users.
  3. tntneo

    tntneo Moderator

    I just received Ensign.
    I agree the interface is counter intuitive. You do get the right click menu, but it is very hard to know where to go to do the things you want to do.

    An example, to create a chart : you need to open from file first ! But the file does not exist !
    When you understand that the file will be created, it is no problem, and when you understand the name you give should be the 'symbol.timeframe' you can go much further.

    So Ensign has several non standard uses of the Windows interface.

    On the other hand guys, everything is there and much more. Drawing tools many more than you ever need, with all kind of paramters [I am talking drawing tool here, not even the indicators].

    The scripting is a full fledge language, so you can define your own indicators, color bars and even back testing strategies from within Ensign.

    The language is a programming language, so when you don't know any it can be difficult. On the flip side, there is not many things you can't do with it, and that was the idea [and why I wanted to try it].

    Ensign is Tradestation on steroids [sorry for the software standard, but that's what I think].
    And because the feed is eSignal you don't have server problems and delays you get from so many data vendors.
    I have tried many and so few are good, it is a shame.

    At the moment I have AIQ [with their own TDC data feed] and Ensign with eSignal. Reliability is very good for both as well as speed. Although TDC is very poor on some exchanges [ie AMEX]. For nasdaq and nyse they are par. Maybe a little advantage to eSignal which is really amazing tracking level I [so many fail there].

    Back to Ensign, it is what Quote.com should be [and was] and more since quote.com does not have back testing. To be fair, it is comparable to Raven+Quote.com, but so much more reliable. I hope one day Quote.com gets back to its old self, because the interface is so intuitive and cool.
    But I am a trader not a nostalgic, so I want what works now.

    Ensign is a sure bet, you will adapt to the user interface.
    I also use IB, so interface adaptation is second nature :)

    I love AIQ too, I wrote so in the past, and still think the same. It is a pity AIQ can't back test intraday data [which is also why I wanted to look at Ensign]. AIQ is the most complete in my opinion though, because it covers core, swing and pure daytrading. You can build your own indicators, and even indices and tracking basket of stocks etc...
    So for core and swing I use AIQ and pure daytrading and futures I am migrating to Ensign.

  4. tradewiz


    Hi, P2

    please email me at tradewiz@msn.com as I have question would like to ask(re TS Pro). many thanks.

  5. paulnr


    Also of interest might be InvestorRT which can be found at http://www.linnsoft.com/ . I know this works with a variety quote sources including esignal and quote.com
    Some of the features include scanning, backtesting and multiple symbols tied to one window.

  6. Knyyt


    Just a word of warning to anyone reading this thread that saw the Investor/RT posting. Do not buy the program without demo'ing it out for the trial period which cost $50 or so for 30 days when i tried. I wont go into specifics, but your want to make sure software works as advertised before shelling out your $$$.

  7. tntneo

    tntneo Moderator

    Ensign still great..
    Weird user interface though. I am still lost too many times, because I am used to other programs.

    However, the drawing toolbox is fantastic and fully customizable.
    The datafeed and charts are top quality [DBC behind for data, charts are even better than quote.com imho].
    Color bars, customized indicators.
    The backtesting capability is limited out of the box. However you can get [or code] more sophisticated analyais.

    The software is very broad.
    Tape readers can use it great, fibonacci freaks can get an overdose, Gann afficionados their share of lines and angles, even Elliott Wave users can use basic wave projections, and of course indicators and oscillators of all preferences can get busy.

    It is a very opened platform. It is what eSignal should be from the start.
    I must say that all the possibilities tend to push you to try all kind of things. That's good and bad.

    Good because trying new things and new ideas is healthy. But one must remember to keep it very simple in trading. Actually trading is simple. People make it complicated [and software too sometimes !].
    Simple does not mean easy though.

    Ensign obviously chose to let the user decide. You can use it in a very complex way, setting this up like a NASA control room or just a plain bar graph with volume, very accurate, no lag and very reliable whatever you religion is.

    I still find AIQ easier to use and more trader friendly. But Ensign is more powerful and complete. http://www.ensignsoftware.com/
    It is better than quote.com http://www.quote.com/ . Also, I tried PC Orbit from http://www.pcquote.com/ , and orbit is way behind the other two.
    You should consider that Ensign+eSignal is the most expensive option in this lign up though.

    I left quote.com a few months ago because of reliability problem, so keep this in mind. There is a competitor to ravenquote http://www.ravenquote.com/ for quote.com. StockwatchPro at http://www.crontech.com/swp/

  8. I see your still using Ensign, tntneo. Still satisfied? Have you grown accustomed to its particulars? Found any limitations? Any thoughts related to its indicator programming and/or back-testing capabilities would be greatly appreciated. I’m debating using the service and I was interested in your experienced advice or opinions. Thanks in advance.
  9. tntneo

    tntneo Moderator

    hi fooliosbrother,

    Yes, indeed I am still very satisfied with Ensign. let me go through what I don't like so far.

    - the menu structure is a bit different than other software. I wrote that already, but it is possible to get used to it, just not nice.

    - the charts are limited to 2338 bars for some reasons [at Ensign they say it is to prevent growing them ad infinitum]. That's a big pity because eSignal can return data for much longer than that. 2000 bars is regardless of the bar size [which is even more frustrating, since you KNOW the data is there]. I intend to ask once a day their tech support to change that.

    - sync between market hours and graph is not always intuitive. so there a some markets not updating in realtime in the chart. that is, until you fix a definition for their market hours. so it is always possible to have it working, but that's odd and all other software I used, never forced me to specify this.

    that's it.. all the rest I LOVE !

    - indicators ? you have them all and then some. you can custom build one and it is not too difficult. I think it is a bit more difficult than Tradestation though. But on the other hand it is so much more powerful.
    An indicator can be anything and be very complex, not only in its formula but display too. for instance an indicator can add note to your graph automatically, change bar colors, add lines, write a log file to your harddisk etc...
    really amazing.

    - if you can't program it, you can get help from other users and get some very powerful indicators that way.

    - back testing ? the engine is very good in defining signals, entry points, stop and reverse, pyramids etc...
    because the programming language is so flexible, you can really code complex money management built in [the system can even read data from external source or file to use in its calculations of entry/exit price or position sizing].
    because you describe everything to the system, all YOUR rules can be specified. I say it again because this is so important. If you want to follow a system, it must be 100% the way you want to trade, otherwise you will find excuses not to take one trade or change size or whatever.
    my way to look at it : if during real trading I 'feel' like doing something different than what my system says, then I will seek WHY. And either I can describe it [sometimes it is difficult] or I can't. If I can not, then it is bulls*.. and I should have traded the system. if I can describe it, then I can code the exception and test it.
    In another thread I wrote that system trading is a probability game, just like successful discretionary trading. So you must proove that at least more often than not in the past, your idea or exception was the best thing to do. Still, it does not proove enough for the future, but if it fails in the past... how good is it ?!

    - back testing reports are ridiculous though [compared to many other programs]. but again, you can export all the results in any text format you want. I export to excel or TradeIT. Then I can use all kind of analysis on the back test results.

    - Ensign comes without any system or strategy. In the beginning it is a bit frustrating because you have no example [or very little] showing how to do the general things. On the other hand I like the approach. Because publicly available systems are worthless ! so it is honest they don't bother with it.
    I need to stress at this point, one more time on this forum, system trading should be for experienced trader imho. Why ? because system trading is about taking all the rules of a working trading plan and code them in software. Therefore you need a working trading plan already.
    Then I am sure you will improve it a lot thanks to the transfer to software and back testing [do not over optimize it on past data though].
    So, for me, system trading is about getting a snapshot of a trader's mind. If he's good, the system will be good, and only in that case. Then, the system in Ensign [for instance] is either an assistant to the trader [scanning markets or highlighting setups etc..] or the actual trader. it is up to you.
    Ensign, may even trade directly for you if you have a broker with an API. I did not do that though. Pity because my system is usually better than me. [well, for entries, I tend to be better for the exits].

    - drawing tools are the best anywhere. really incredible. I know several traders only using drawing tools [lines, fans, retracements or complex graphical calculation and no indicators]. And you can program them and use them in systems too.

    - the data is great thanks to eSignal. never a complaint.
    - there are several updates a month with Ensign [free] with new features.

    if it was not for the 2000 bars limitation and slightly different user interface, this would be the perfect software. but I guess that does not exist.
    However, it is up there. And the only other ones possibly as good or better [I know of] are RavenQuote [never used it] and TradeStation [poor data quality I read on this forum.. but soon I will try it for my job]. I already stated AIQ is very good for multiday swing trading of many stocks [the best imho].
    But I love Ensign, and I will stick to this one. And it is real love, in the sense that you grow into it. The more you know it, the more you realize it is made with real traders [all kinds] in mind.

    I think this was detailed enough and too long :) if you have more questions, let me know.

  10. First, thank you very much for your detailed response. I really appreciate you taking the time.

    tntneo: the charts are limited to 2338 bars for some reasons... 2000 bars is regardless of the bar size. I intend to ask once a day their tech support to change that.

    If I understand you correctly, it appears that you can only get about 29 days worth of 5min data on the SP. Not much to work with. If I move over, I'll join you in your crusade.

    tntneo: there a some markets not updating in realtime in the chart.

    Which markets may I ask?

    tntneo: the data is great thanks to eSignal. never a complaint.

    I have heard that eSignal can fall behind during the open or during a fast market. It sounds like this has not been your experience. Second, how often do you experience bad ticks and are they easily corrected through the software or are you dependent on eSignal to edit the data?

    Once again, thanks. Please tell me how you feel Tradestation compares once you’ve had some time to evaluate it.
    #10     Jul 27, 2001