my experience with TradeStation, NinjaTrader, and OpenQuant

Discussion in 'Trading Software' started by jhucti, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. jhucti


    I would like to share my two cents about these three trading platforms:

    1. TradeStation: TS is a combination of a data vendor (TS data), a strategy developing/backtesting platform (TS platform), and an execution broker (TS brokerage).
    So ideally TS is the only thing you need for strategic trading. Unfortunately from what I know many people only like the TS platform and use other vendors for data/execution. With a long development history, the TS platform has become very mature, stable, and feature-rich. A great user forum on TS’s website has continuously contributed new ideas and reported bugs/issues. Though currently the TS platform is the de-facto industry standard, there are two strategic limitations: (1). EasyLanguage: EasyLanguage is no comparison to C# for strategy development. The money/efforts spent maintaining EasyLanguage can be better spent if TS switch to C#. (2). Limited brokerage connection to TS only. The problem with bundled selling is that if people don’t like one of them they may avoid the whole package.

    2. OpenQuant: I’m taking a trial right now. I really like the base framework. If we were looking for the best-written trading software I would definitely vote for OQ. However, when I started to use it to trade, there are just so many unsolved issues, and missing features. For example, when I connect to IB and run a strategy on ES, OQ does not automatically load historical/realtime data so I just see a blank chart. And if I left or right click on the chart, there is no menu showing up. After a few days I just feel that OQ is not mature enough to my trading. Also judging from the number of posts/moderators on OQ’s forum, the support behind OQ is still not strong enough.

    3. NinjaTrader: The first nice thing about NinjaTrader is that it is free before you do live trading. Seconly when you look at the Ninja support forum and the amount/quality of documentation and reference samples, you know that a lot of people are pushing NinjaTrader ahead. NinjaTrader targets both strategic traders with NinjaScript and prop traders with ATM strategies so its user base is very broad. Of course it is far from perfect. In fact when I open a workspace for the first time and see all these windows flying all over my desktop, I almost gave up on NinjaTrader. Another issue is that when you save a workspace, the strategies are not saved so next time you have to manually add them back. If you have a dozen strategies, you would spend twenty minutes (who would want to do that every morning?) just to add the strategies on to the charts, set the parameters for each strategy, set the session start/end times for every symbol, etc, etc.

    The current competition for trading platforms is somewhat like the OS war between IBM (OS/2), Apple (Mac OS), and Microsoft (Windows). So now you know who is my predicted winner?

    Again, just my two cents. As a trader I welcome the competition on trading platforms and applaud every improvement they achieve.
  2. RhinoGG

    RhinoGG Guest

    Ninja is following the same path that Windows did in the very beginning. Its FREE, that is, when win3.1 came out, everyone copied the 3 1/2 disks and passed them around. Then, once you became addicted to the crack, you needed more and more just to satisfy.

    I like Ninja, but they need to mature as software developers, or need to hire mature developers. Its very clear in many aspects of the code that there are/were complete coding newbs doing the work.

    But, just like win3.1 got you hooked, so may ninjatrad3r. Eventually, they will be forced to hire real developers. Until then, its a nice little toy that does mostly what it supposed to.
  3. jhucti


    Many of the new generation of trading platforms (NT, OQ, etc.) are C# based so it is easy to switch between them. This will make the competition more fierce. Very interesting to see who will win and how they get there.
  4. jhucti


    After some more digging, now I prefer OpenQuant over NinjaTrader. The main reason is that OpenQuant not only has a superior base architecture, but also has a more open interface that allows users to customize the platform and add their own functionality. For example, you can create your own data/execution provider by modifying the sample code provided by OQ.

    So in short, OQ is a powerful bare bone framework that is great for people with strong programming background. On the other hand, NinjaTrader tries to carter to both programmers and non-programmers.