I currently trade futures through ninjatrader, and would like to automate some of my trades. 1) What developmental package or tools did you who trade futures, use to create your automated systems and what did you use to back test them? 2) I have not programmed for a long time, but what programming book should I read to help get started. 3) I would be interested in using something where I could do as little programming as possible. 4) Have any of you hired any programmers to help design your automated system or does everyone do it themselves. 5) If I see certain patterns on my chart, can these be automated or is that beyond the possibility of these programs to automate patterns? 6) Once you are automated, how do you have the signals send orders to your account and do you have the broker run the software on their servers or you run it through your computer. 7) What do you use to back test your strategies, and how do you optimize them without the strategy being only good for working on the past market and not the current or future markets.