~~~ The Best Software for Automated Trading ~~~

Trading algorithms do not necessarily require software. Some can theoretically be executed with pen and paper, and orders can be manually placed. But in most cases, some automated trading software is used to run the algorithm and send the trade orders to brokers or exchanges. There are several categories of software and tools for automated trading, as described below. Pick your choice.

Trading robots

They have imaginative names like "Forex Autopilot" or "Market Fury". Some are autonomous programs, but most are MetaTrader "Expert Advisors" with a hardwired secret algorithm. Usually for Forex, rarely for CFDs, binary options, or cryptocurrencies. Often shortlived and soon replaced with a similar robot with a new fancy name. Typical advertising text: Sit back, relax, and let our Forex Autopilot place your trades. At only $99, get the most effective robot on the market. We have a record of 95% winning trades on verified Myfxbook accounts, and boast 500% annual return. This software is the life's work of our highly skilled team of scientists.

Pro: Requires no trading or programming knowledge. Relatively cheap. Impressive historical 'profit curves' with up to 1000% annual profit. Often enthusiastic reviews on trader forums or robot comparison pages.
Con: 'Secret' trading algorithms are normally simple martingale or grid trading systems. Reviews are paid for, profit curves are usually faked (the Black Book explains how to fake enormous 'live trading profit' on verified Myfxbook accounts). You won't know what exactly you get for your $99, but can safely assume that it is useless.

Trade copy services

Their systems automatically place your trades by copying other traders. Top traders compete for followers, since they earn their main money not with trading, but with follower's fees. Some use algorithmic trading, some trade manually, but all accept high risk to be at least for a few weeks on the service's top traders list. Just as with robots, that list is shortlived. Top traders often blow their (and their follower's) accounts and disappear mysteriously, only to re-appear soon under a different name. Typical advertising text: Invest in the best! Use the wisdom of the top traders. Replicate their strategies and receive their trading profits. This is the number one trade copy platform with the world's best traders.

Pro: Requires no trading or programming knowledge. Top traders have impressive profit curves (not faked) with more than 100% annual profit. Or rather, it would be annual profit if they lasted more than a year.
High risk of loss. The top traders selection favors those who trade risky, but had a stroke of luck so far.  The problem: luck usually does not last.

Visual strategy builders

They allow to 'click together' algo trading systems from building blocks of indicators and operators. Usually for Forex and CFDs. Often the visual system is converted to a standardized script that runs on the free MT4 platform, and uses its (quite limited) optimizer and backtester. Typical advertising text: This visual strategy builder is designed for "non-programmers". Anyone can now create algo trading systems! You will master the principles in no time and turn your ideas into ready-made strategies. The intuitive and powerful "drag and drop" interface makes trading strategy development fun and easy.

Pro: Requires no programming. Easy to learn. No syntax errors. Colorful display of your trading strategy. And when it still fails, you can at least blame yourself.
Con: Fixed library of standard indicators, limited to simple standardized strategies (see indicator soups). Visual building is slower than coding. Complex strategies look messy. No debugger. Often limited optimization and backtest capabilities.

Retail trading platforms

Mainly designed for manual trading, they also support various script languages for charts and algo trading. The script language for automated trading systems is often proprietary, like EasyLanguage™, MetaStock™, or PineScript™. They offer a lot more flexibility than visual strategy builders. Indicators or other functions can be freely added by the user. Many platforms support serious backtest methods such as walk-forward analysis, and offer not only the usual Forex/CFD assets, but also stocks, ETFs, and with some restrictions, even options. Typical advertising text: Take trading to a new level with the most powerful platform on the market. Create charts with plenty colorful bars and lines. Automated execution of algo trading scripts. 500 built-in indicators, genetic and brute force optimization, high-precision backtests. 

Pro: Supports manual trading and many algo trading methods with user-defined functions. Some platforms have good optimization and backtest capabilities. 
Con: Requires programming, sometimes in an awkward proprietary language. Coding is limited to chart indicators and trading systems. External libraries for data analysis or machine learning are not supported or difficult to implement.

Algo trading with R or Python

These computer languages offere plenty libraries, modules, or packages for all sorts of data analysis tasks, including broker connections, machine learning, optimization, and backtests. Since they are not limited to trading, they can be used for research and analysis of any sort. Therefore they offer a lot more flexibility than automated trading platforms. No advertising needed - everyone knows them.

Pro: Very flexible, free, huge number of libraries, excellent machine learning support, almost any trading algorithm or market research project can be realized.
Con: Language is interpreted, code execution is slow. Not suited for fast trading or HFT. Backtests take either a long time or require awkward 'vectorized' coding. 

Algo trading with C or C++

The C and C++ languages are about 100 times faster than R or Python, and thus ideal for backtesting and optimizing intraday and high frequency trading strategies. Zorro supports C and C++ as native languages for trading algorithmss. It was developed with the intention to overcome the disadvantages of other algo trading tools. Much easier to use for algo trading as R and Python, and a lot more flexible than usual trading platforms. Typical advertising text: This is not a trading platform.

Pro: Free, very short scripts in C or C++, ultra fast backtests and optimization, all is customizable, supports all financial instruments and all trading methods including HFT. 
Con: Zorro does not look very pretty.


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