VeriTrader 2.0 or Trading Recipes or OTHER???

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Francisco
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VeriTrader 2.0 or Trading Recipes or OTHER???

Post by Francisco » Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:03 pm

First, I know this has been more or less asked before, and I have read those posts, but I am just looking for any fresh insights on the matter. The horse isn't quite dead yet, so I'd like to beat it some more.

My background: I have been dabbling in the commodities markets for years and have decided that I need to develop my own system (simple). I currently am trading Aberration (which I own), but on a discretionary basis (true system followers, feel free to wince). I do not have a background in programming, but I work with programmers in system development. I have a logical mind and feel I could learn to code fairly rapidly. I am more of a power user of software applications. DOS, windows, or command line does not bother me. I still use DOS programs from a command line, and my UNIX is rusty, but I used to be okay in that environment too.

Currently, I am debating between VeriTrader or Trading Recipes. I want the ability to create a systems to trade a portfolio of commodities. I want to be able to thoroughly backtest that system and apply betsizing to the portfolio.

Initially, I plan to "learn" whatever application's programming language I purchase by coding Aberration into it, then maybe adding some entry and exit filters. While this is a simple system, it should certainly teach me the basics of whatever language I am using. I have studied the TR demo, and the language looks intuitive and simple to me. You define values in the spreadsheet like columns, then address those values with code. Frankly, it appears easier than the syntax I have seen associated with Easy Language, but I have never compared apples to apples, so I am only guessing. As to what VeriTrader 2.0 will offer for a language, I think we are all wondering about that. I really do not want to have a big learning curve to learn to program. I am looking for something that is intuitive.

So, having stated all that, what should I buy and why? :-) Any thoughts would be appreciated. I'd like to own both, but for now, I have to pick one, and I would like to make a good choice. So, we have myself as a non-programmer who wants to buy a product to initially code Aberration and then move on from there.

BTW, if anyone has a manual for Trading Recipes (do they come in an electronic format?), I would love to see it. I will keep watching here for the VeriTrader 2.0 manual.

Best,

Shawn

AFJ Garner
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Post by AFJ Garner » Sat Nov 13, 2004 11:14 am

TR is supposed to have a windows version coming out soon - there will be a professional version for some horrendous sum like $25/- and a retail version for presumably more like $2/- DOS TR really is a slog; it is horrendously slow and the outputs and reports don't begin to match Veritrader. Let me put it this way, I have been using Veritrader to look trade by trade at the simple Bollinger Band system and looking to add a quicker system to the 80/2 parameters I already trade. I too own Aberration. The ability with Veritrader to look trade by trade through a large portfolio using different parameters is invaluable, even if you are forced at the moment to use money management and can't test on a single contract basis. With TR, if you want to look trade by trade you have to run a test one parameter at a time (say 1.1/0.25 and an 80 day SMA) on one contract at a time. So what I am doing is to run Veritrader on say BP and to simultaneously run TR on BP: without filters or profit taking or any other bell or whistle first (just to check the two pieces of software are producing identically timed trades) and then adding in various filters, profit taking mechanisms and bet sizing schemes in TR and comparing it to the raw breaout system. Laboriously, contract by contract. And then of course you can use TR to test the whole portfolio with betsizing at the end of it all - but still one laborious set at a time.

So, you are in a bit of a cleft stick at the moment. Personally, if you only want to buy one piece of software, I would wait and see what Veritrader 2 will provide and also whether Windows TR is out by then. DOS TR is excellent and of course fully programmable. It drives me absolutely insane however - large Simultests have a habit of crashing the machine, a worst case scenario analysis this week took 24 hours to complete, it comes with a wretched security dongle which means I can't run it on my Windows XP Sony without buying a printer port adapter, the printing gums up, it is clumsy to match it up to CSI contracts, it won't accept negative prices, etc etc.

I do like and appreciate TR. I will be buying Windows TR the instant it comes out. And I am down for Veritrader 2.

Like you, I would consider myself a power user of other people's software rather than a programmer per se. The TR language IS gratifyingly simple - I have not yet got my mind around what Veritrader 2 will entail.

If you should decide to go for TR alone, make sure you can upgrade free or cheaply to the Windows retail version.

Hope my ignorant but well meant comments are of some help!
AG

Francisco
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Post by Francisco » Sat Nov 13, 2004 4:47 pm

Thanks AG. I appreciate the feedback.

You gave me some things to think about. Programming a simple system like Aberration shouldn't be too difficult, but apparently trying multiple values for the Standard Deviation is? In other words, when you say "The ability with Veritrader to look trade by trade through a large portfolio using different parameters is invaluable", you are referring the VeriTrader parameter stepping feature? And this is a laborious process in DOS TR?

Using Bollinger Bands on Veritrader 1.6, are you able to simulate Aberration entries and exits?

I believe WinTR is supposed to be expensive when it is finally released. I am considering purchasing the DOS version now because of upgrade costs, etc... I had thought the TR was supposed to be fast; it just had a "clunky" DOS interface, but 24 hrs. for a worse case scenario test sounds painful. Are times like that typical?

I also have never had a piece of software that requires a dongle, and you don't paint a pretty picture for that.

I use CSI files via UA, but usually, I use the ASCII formatted versions. Can these be cumbersome in DOS TR?

When you say "large" simulation tests, can you define large? Right now, I trade 12 commodities, and any initial back test usually involves 8 years of continuous contracts in an ASCII format.

Well, hopefully I will pick the best personal solution off the bat, then buy the other one with profits .... :-)

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Post by AFJ Garner » Mon Nov 15, 2004 5:40 pm

You can not optimise in TR: you can not ask the programme to try every std dev between 0 and 2 and let it run or every bet size between .1 and 2% by way of example. So, no: no parameter stepping feature and last time I asked the question, no stepping feature was to be included in Win TR either. That is a real bind. So, with TR if you want to test a Bollinger breakout system on every moving average from 20 to 100 in steps of ten you first have to run 20: look at it, save the output to a text or excel file if you want to, then change the SMA setting to 30 and start over again etc etc etc. Same with every other stepping parameter. They have a method of "batching" but it does not amouint to the same thing at all. Furher to that with your portfolio of 12 futures you are likely to want to look at each trade over each differenent parameter. With Veritrader, you could run one test on 80/2, leave the test window open,. run another on 50/1 by way of example and so forth. Each test will have each trade for each future beuatifully set out and you can have each window open at the same time: so, by way of examplt you can look through each live hog trade in the 80/2 test and compare it side by side with each live hog trade in the 50/1 test.....and then move on to each other future in your portfolio.

With TR, if you run a test on the entire portfolio at once, all you can view and export is the AGGREGATE EQUITY CURVE. If you want to look at each live hog trade using the 80/2 parameters you will have to run one specific TR test to view JUST LIVE HOG trades for JUST the 80/2 parameter. Then run another test for live hogs on 50/1 .............then run further tests for each and every future in your portfolio.

God knows whether this is improved with Win TR...........but if not, I would think twice. I hasten to add I am not a programmer. For all I know, our more learned bretheren will sing TRs praises and run down Veritrader. But at the moment, the two are simple not comparable. TR has the flexibility to programme almost any system you want but has very limited and appalingly slow output and lousy, limited graphics. Veritrader 1.6 is a dream in terms of wonderful output, wonderful graphics, wonderful speed - but is of course at present not programmable.

On large "simutests" I refer to 20 to 30 futures over 20 years on one system run up against another or more than one other similar system using the same pot of money.......such tests simply gum up my programme. But others seem to be able to make it work. Perhaps they use fewer futures , less years, or are adept at re-directing their PCs memory...or of course streamlining their code to run faster. I am no expert in these matters.

ASCII is fine with TR....its just a lot of hard work setting up tick values, big point values etc etc.....and clumsy. There is a TR list - and its always full of new purchasers struggling with this matter..

Sorry, I'm droning. And again, I'm not knocking TR - its a fine tool in its way. Wish I could show you mine, give you a demo or whatever. See if there is anyone living near you who has it.

Also, see what a real programmer has to say about the matter. I'm only an honorary "anorak"!

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Post by d-g » Mon Nov 15, 2004 6:06 pm

Another important consideration for people to look at is the speed of testing, especially if they intend to use intra-day data.

This may be a pivotal factor in which package you choose.

As neither package is released that isn't possible right now, but probably somethign you want to look for when more details become available.

As far as setting up data, futures data is a real pain. There are no standards really, with vendors using whatever data they want, hence the need for a Big Point. Even thoug hte exchange stores the value for something as 99.25 for some reason one vendor will report it as .9925 and another as 9925 while a third 99.25 . So for any program to use that data, this big point issue comes in.

In the present term I think it comes down to this - how good is the customer support of the vendor, or the user-community. With any package settign pu data is especially confusing to newbie's , some of whom may not be thoroughly versed in contract rolling and many other thigns yet. So really, what you need is some support network to be responsive to helping them through the process, because it is invariably a process.

I have heard that many people take days or weeks settign up data with TR at first. We have streamlined the process a bit through setting people up, and I have a script and sample files for CSI that people now seem able to walk through in about 15 minutes. Either way, however, with something like CSI a person should be taking a week or two to fully understand it (now or later is fine, but before you start trading please!), because how you construct your data is critical.

We are going to work on an independant standards organization to try and hopefully clear up this mess, but this is a hard problem for any testing software vendor to satisfy on our end, as I can pre-set files for VeriTrader customers to use CSI, but I cannot control if tomorrow CSI decides to change the value for storing the peso from 9953 to .9953. Also FYI the CSI provided Big Points and contract specs that they report on their own PDF ARE NOT ALWAYS RIGHT, which really makes setting up data fun.

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