Introduction to TradeStation Coding
On July 15, we will be offering a full day course on how to professionally backtest and automate your trading strategies in TradeStation.
Here's How It Works
You will start the course with minimal to no knowledge on how to backtest and automate in TradeStation. Six hours later you will...
- Know how to program a trading strategy.
- Know how to backtest and validate that strategy.
- And know how to automate that strategy.
This is knowledge which you will be able to apply to your trading for the rest of your life.
In this class you will start from the beginning and within hours have the skill to take one of our Strategy Guidebooks and program it in TradeStation yourself. Plus, you will have the knowledge to automatically trade your strategy once the class is completed.
Why Take the Course?
If you’ve been trading for any length of time, you’ve probably wondered how well a particular technical indicator has identified profitable trade set-ups in the past. Maybe you just want to be self-sufficient enough to find your own trading signals on a daily basis rather than waiting for someone else to send you trade alerts. Or perhaps you’re already trading a quantified strategy and you’d like to automate it.
TradeStation is a powerful technical analysis program, with advanced charting, backtesting, optimizing, scanning and auto execution (in both simulated and real accounts) capabilities. TradeStation is utilized by all types of traders to develop and test and automatically trade their strategies. You will learn how to program, backtest, and automate your trading strategies in one day in this course.
This course is designed for traders who use the TradeStation Platform and want to learn how to create simple backtests and/or generate trading signals, but who have little or no familiarity with EasyLanguage, the TradeStation scripting language. At the completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Automate your trading strategies.
- Create, modify, backtest, optimize, and execute simple TradeStation Strategies.
- Create your own custom indicator, and add it to an TradeStation chart.
- Use RadarScreen and the TradeStation Scanner to find the best strategy set-ups.
- Approximately six hours of online instruction with TradeStation expert Stuart Okorofsky (see Stuart's biography below).
- Ability to interact with the instructor to ask questions, troubleshoot problems, etc.
- TradeStation code templates that you can easily modify for your own needs.
- A complete description of many commonly used TradeStation Functions
- A free copy of the Strategy Guidebook “ConnorsRSI Selective Strategy for ETFs and Stocks”, which we will use as the basis for our backtest.
- A desire to properly learn basic TradeStation programming.
- TradeStation 9.1 or later installed.
A Personal Message From Stuart Okorofsky
"My path to EasyLanguage Programming is quite a circuitous one.
I graduated from SUNY Buffalo in 1974 with a Degree in Computer Science. At that time, PCs did not exist, mainframes took up entire buildings, we used punch cards to write computer programs and there was no Internet.
After graduation I worked for McDonnell Douglas as a programmer. I was unchallenged by the corporate world so I quit and got involved in another profession.
One day in the early 1990s I got a piece of mail from Ken Roberts about trading Futures. I was fascinated by it and took his course. I got hooked on trading.
I saw a TradeStation demo at a trading seminar, bought the software and began writing code. Despite the fact that I hadn't programmed in 20 years, it came back to me very quickly. Programming is a way of thinking and I had always been good at it.
At the time, there were only a handful of TradeStation Programmers so I began writing programs for other people. Before I knew it I had a full time business. I quickly accumulated so many clients that I stopped trading, transitioned out of my other business in order to program TradeStation full time.
Over the past 20 years, I've written indicators and strategies for hundreds and hundreds of clients. I still have clients that I code for who that have been with me from the very beginning of my career. Larry Connors is one of them.
My clients run the gamut from private traders to very large hedge fund managers. I have also worked with high profile authors like Tom DeMark, Walter Bressert, and Dave Aronson.
My goal in this course is two-fold:
- To teach you how to correctly program, test, and automate your trading in TradeStation.
- It’s to also share with you my insight and 20 years experience in systems programming".
General Overview of TradeStation
TradeStation is a comprehensive technical analysis program, with advanced charting, backtesting, optimizing, scanning and auto execution capabilities. For those not familiar with the application, we will quickly cover some of the major areas of functionality.
- Charting (including multi data charts)
Part 1 - Programming in EasyLanguage
In our first coding session, we will introduce the TradeStation Developer Environment and EasyLanguage, and the tools for creating and running your first Indicator. Fortunately, you need only a limited set of commands to implement a basic indicator or Strategy. TradeStation has an extensive library of built in functions and indicators that allow you to test a wide variety of trading ideas.
Writing an Indicator
TradeStation allows you to easily insert built-in indicators like RSI and Moving Averages to your charts. But what if you want to plot a custom indicator like ConnorsRSI? In this coding session, we will discuss the EasyLanguage code that is required to create a custom indicator, and actually write the ConnorsRSI indicator.
- Review of the basic Indicator and Strategy Templates
- Inputs, Variables, and Arrays
- Plot Statements
- Adding useful icons to Developer environment
- Help Files
Exercise: Writing ConnorsRSI Indicator in TradeStation EasyLanguage
Building a Strategy
We will build the "ConnorsRSI Selective Strategy for ETFs and Stocks" and learn how to backtest the strategy.
- Market Orders
- Limit Orders
- Profit Targets
- Debugging techniques
- Explaining the mystery of "MaxBarsBack"
Exercise: Build and Backtest the “ConnorsRSI Selective Strategy for ETFs and Stocks.”
Part 2 – Finding Your Set-ups
1) How to Apply RadarScreen to Amplify Your Trading
RadarScreen is fondly referred to as a "quote screen on steroids" that allows you to monitor up to 1000 symbols. By allowing you to apply custom indicators, RadarScreen alerts you to additional trading opportunities that are available each trading day. You will learn how to use RadarScreen to alert you to entry/exit set-ups and how to monitor existing positions.
2) Finding Set-Ups with the TradeStation Scanner
The TradeStation Scanner gives you the set-ups for the upcoming day. Now you do not need to rely on others for your signals. You will learn how to program your strategies and get the signals for the upcoming trading day.
Part 3 - Optimizing a Strategy
We will learn the basics of how to optimize a strategy.
- Standard vs Walk Forward
- Exhaustive vs Genetic
- Avoiding Common pitfalls
Part 4 - Auto Execution
At the conclusion of this course you will be able to write a simple strategy, backtest it, and automate trading it in the TradeStation simulator. If, after extensive testing in the simulator, you are happy with the strategies performance, you will be able to automate real trading in your TradeStation brokerage account. This includes automating your stocks, ETF, futures, and Forex trading.
Bonus - Code Along With Stuart
Throughout this course, you will have the ability to code along with Stuart. Stuart will give the exercise and then you will program the exercise along with him to assure you have mastery of the programming.
Additional Sources and Q&A (the class remains open until all your questions are answered)
Total Time Estimate: 6 hours
By the end of this course, you will be in the position to test your strategies, improve upon your strategies, scan for the set-ups for your strategies, and automatically trade those strategies.
Learning how to program in TradeStation can save you hundreds of hours and make you a more powerful trader.
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