Interactive Brokers - Add-on Software

Discussion in 'Retail Brokers' started by cwb1014, Dec 26, 2005.

  1. cwb1014


    I'm considering opening an account with IB. However, I'm somewhat confused as to what software they provide and what software one needs to purchase, or might be well advised to purchase, in order to trade effectively through IB. Thus, I have a few basic questions and am hoping that folks who are experienced IB users can help me out in answering some or all of them:

    1) Is the TWS the only software that is provided by IB and what exactly does it do and what are its principal limitations.

    2) What are the better software packages for market monitoring, charting, and technical analysis that are compatible with IB, especially if one is interested in custom indicators and layouts?

    3) I gather there are a number of order entry and management add-ons that one can use with IB--what are the better ones among them and are they really necessary?

    By way of background, I will be trading stocks principally, but will likely eventually trade options and futures as well. I will likely trade U.S. instruments only.

    I look forward to your replies and many thanks in advance for your assistance here.




  2. AmiBroker and Sierra Chart
  3. cwb1014


    Let me modify my original inquiry above.

    I've researched question 1) pretty thoroughly at IB's website and have a much better understanding of it. The principal limitations that I can see with respect to TWS is that it does not allow for very advanced charting (e.g., custom indicators, multiple time frames on same chart, volume bars, etc.) and does not appear to offer terribly advanced market monitoring layouts (e.g., custom columns, wide-array of standard columns, etc.). If I'm mistaken about any of this, please let me know.

    I continue to remain very interested in answers to questions 2) and 3). With respect to question 3), I'm especially curious as to what IB clients find to be the principal limitations of the order entry and management features built-in to TWS and what add-on software most effectively overcomes them.

    Look forward to hearing more on this and many thanks in advance to all who are willing to help me out here.


  4. zxcv1fu


  5. mrtwo


    I simply love Amibroker. IMO it is the best charting / backtesting tool for IB users.

    -> Heavily Programable: if Amibroker doesn't do it, it is very likely you can code it yourself.
    -> Super fast backtesting and optimization.
    -> Inexpensive.
    -> Great, great suppport!

    -> Currently, it only supports 5 day backfill for IB.
    -> If you cant code, you cant make the most out of it.

    I got around the 5 day backfill issue by subscribing to IQFeed as my secondary feed. This is just a temporary thing as they are currently working on increasing the backfill limit of the IB plug-in.

    I hope that helps!
  6. murky


    I have problems with Amibroker getting bogged down when storing more than a week's tick or 5s data for more than a few symbols. All I have is price+volume showing, and I have to rename existing symbols & start new ones every week to get around this. I think rough edges like this may put off some real time charting users, but it's great for EOD data and backtesting and a great deal.
  7. mrtwo


    Oh, that is weird. I work with 1 minute data and I have no problem storing 6 months of historic data for a couple hundred of symbols at once.

    Do you ever visualize your charts in a frequency higher than 1 minute? I use Amibroker in realtime with 1 minute charts and it works great. The 'current' candle gets updated in realtime as fast as the data arives, but only the final high/low/close gets stored on the database.

    Have you tried to contact Amibroker's developers? They are very helpful and I am sure they can to figure out what is going on.

  8. If I leave amibroker and IB TWS on all the time, then the backfill issue will not be a problem right? Won't the data be automatically added to your database if you leave the charts up all the time?

    Also, if you leave the charts up all the time and you click the backfill button will you lose all the data that was stored in your database? In other words, does clicking the backfill button erase all data in your database and start a new database?

    I can imagine a situation in which you have to restart your computer after having left IB TWS and AMIBROKER running for many days. When you restart the computer, will you lose all of the data that had been accumulated throughout that time? Would you lose all that data if you clicked the backfill button?

    Thanks a lot for your help

  9. murky


    Yes if they are in charts they should be, except... (see below)

    No, you don't lose any data.

    I leave Amibroker running for weeks at a time.

    EVERY night, Amibroker's IB plugin loses its connection to TWS. I emailed support already and they seem clueless about this. (Lack of testing I guess).

    You have to manually reconnect. If you have more than a few symbols, you have to view each symbol, or run a scan also, because Amibroker stops collecting data if you don't.

    If you are using tick or 5s data, you cannot backfill more than a couple hours. So if you don't manually reconnect and make sure Amibroker is collecting data for each symbol within a couple hours, there's no way to fill those data holes.

    1min data will backfill for a much bigger time window.
  10. murky


    I work with 5s and tick data, so maybe its a matter of # of quotes stored. I know this slowdown is related to the number of days stored for YM/ES/NQ/ER2, its been happening over and over for months.

    They haven't provided answers for this. Had another issue with tick charts (data corruption) and no solution for that either. I have run out of ideas but have workarounds in the meantime.
    #10     Jan 9, 2006