Tradelink users? Issues?

Discussion in 'Automated Trading' started by bluelou, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. bluelou


    Is anyone here using Tradelink in live trading or has at least tried it out? I'd like to know what traders DON'T LIKE about the product.

    I have yet to demo the product but I've spoken to them and watched some videos. There's a lot to like, especially coming from NinjaTrader. I'd like to know what there is not to like about Tradelink.

    One area of concern for me is that there doesn't seem to be much, if any, documentation. I'm talking about pdfs or searchable guides, not Intellisense. I'm guessing that the no-doc/doc-light approach is to push people to the paid product, Glean. I'm not saying that's a bad thing - they have to make money somehow. But, if that's the case, are users satisfied w/Glean support in lieu of documentation?
  2. when we need to find tradelink documentation using a searchable guide, we use google.
  3. Couple things why I personally stay away and coded up my own platform years ago:

    1) Binary format they store ticks in is not very efficient, reading quotes back from file is very slow, nowhere close to the 5million ticks I process per second on historical data (and that includes the binary random access reads (can specify any start/end dates in between), deserialization, merging of several symbols to create a true market simulated feet (the stream is truly time sorted not first symbol then time when loading multi symbols). I have not seen even the capability in Tradelink to merge multi symbol data into one stream.

    2) The profiling and backtest platform is different from the live trading one, which I personally really dislike. I can turn a switch to change from my historical data feed to real-time data and the quote streams flow through the architecture in the exactly same way (I use TPL Dataflow to link different dataflow blocks in a purely concurrent framework).

    3) They over advertise, they say they have a lot of adapters and interfaces to brokers but when really looking into those they severely lack. Its easy to say "hey we offer some sort of fix connectivity to IB" but when you look closely its nowhere close to even be usable for testing purpose let alone for trading purposes.

    4) Gui? No gui, no charts, no data grids, at least not what I would call it as such. So, if you get to run a backtest after all the hard work to get it up and running how do you profile the results? You still end up writing pretty much everything on your own.

    For me the the time it would take to understand all the coding nuances and profitably peruse does not justify to mix and match it with the necessary extensions and code I would need to come up with to even get it up and running.

    Its only my 2cents, but to be honest I do not see the product taking off (have been following it for more than 1.5 years now) for the precise reasons above. I got the impression its used by those who actually developed it and maybe by some who paid to get all the wheels fixed to the car because they do not have in-house coders. The biggest problem I see with Tradelink is that the documentation and code is too opaque, it would take even experienced coders a life time to really easily integrate and continue where Tradelink hits the limits.

    My suggestion would be to look for a product (or submit the suggestion to Tradelink) to provide a ROCK SOLID basic platform (a way to stream historical and real time ticks at high throughputs into a strategy development container/framework) with some basic but solid way to output results to some sort of dashboard.) That is something that attracts people to continue adding their own bells and whistles (and would ultimately make people pay for it as well).

  4. bluelou


    Thank you for the thorough response. I was hoping for a different response but I suspected some of the points you mentioned might be issues.

    My impression is that there isn't much, if anything, for an OMS and you're kind of on your own regarding maintaining broker connectivity. Is that fair to say in your opinion?

    I guess it boils down to open source != free. It makes me think of people trying to trade systematically via R. I use R with NinjaTrader (via statconn) but there's no way I'd trade directly through R. I'm not that adventurous.

  5. well it all can be done, my point was that it begs the question whether it is time efficient to work with a framework that is very opaque rather than creating something from scratch yourself (with the use of certain open source solutions, purchased market connectivity adapters and the like). When you look at the most recent changes to the framework you notice 80% has been fixing bugs or adopting to changes in broker APIs which benefits guys who already use the platform. I really have not seen any new concepts that were recently introduce to the platform. I check out some of the code early on and only they way archived data was streamed to the platform left me very dissatisfied.

  6. bluelou


    I understand. Given the opacity you've written of I don't have any interest in trying to tease out answers to "Where do I find/How do I do this..." questions to a paid email help service. Developing and maintaining strategies is hard enough. But, I'll still continue to monitor what's going on at Tradelink.

    Did you ever consider RightEdge? If so, what did you like/dislike?

    While I know that Ninja isn't suitable for many, in combo w/R and some statistical libraries attached as DLLs it's okay for me for now. I spoke to them recently and they mentioned adding portfolio trading and a cloud-based service but I have no idea of time frame.

    Thx again,
  7. SteveH


    It probably depends more on your programming ability. If you've got those skills, then you'll always find (at some point) something in TradeLink or NinjaTrader, etc which you feel is a hindrance to expressing what you want to do. The biggest advantage of roll-your-own is that you don't have to please anyone else. You can go deep where you want to and fix bugs extremely fast.

    However, I do think the main developer of TradeLink has done a great job of moving his project forward. It is one of the best free resources for a multiple broker trading interface.
  8. bluelou


    Yes, very true. I'm not enough of a programmer to mess w/much other than the strategy itself.

    I'm sure TradeLink is a fine product. I just need to come to terms with the pluses and minuses of an open-source platform.
  9. I actually used RightEdge long time ago purely for feeding a simple strategy engine with historical data. But I hit the limits very soon and that was when I branched out and started writing my own platform. RightEdge is not bad for a start but I never trusted the statistics of any of those off-the-shelf products. I ended up writing all output statistics and trades and analyzed myself. In the end I wrote more and more parts myself so that I did not see the purpose of using RightEdge anymore. My main gripe was that I run multi-symbol backtest feeds and RightEdge had a very hard time handling those. If you just stream one single symbol's time series into your NewTick function then thats fine (even then slow) but doing so over 10 symbols slowed things down immensely.

  10. 1) How true is that: Yes I also believe its one of the biggest advantages, should one hit a bug you can just debug it yourself because you understand your own code the best. It took me hours to figure out the mechanics and search for a solution to errors in products, written by others. You sometimes end up waiting for days for someone to help out on message boards. Thats just the nature of working with stuff that is not your own.

    2) Agree, at least targeting .Net. There are couple other products targeting Java that I would claim are superior to Tradelink. MarketCetera comes to mind and another which I looked at some time ago but which name slipped my mind. But the Tradelink guys did a great job considering its open source and targeting .Net at a time .Net really was not in favor at all by the financial community. The biggest problem, as outlined before, is that non-Tradelink-related takers of Tradelink are very rare, its pretty much fully extended and supported by the very same guys who came up with the product originally. When you have a highly successful open source project you see various people coming in and out and committing new code, expanding ideas, testing,.. this I do not see is the case with Tradelink, at least not to the extend I would feel comfortable embracing this product.

    #10     Jul 12, 2012