This week it came to my attention that one of the easiest ways for my subscribers to sell Forex trading products here on the site would be to point them in the right direction first. Commonsense right?
Well, there are infinite ways to create a currency trading system, and the main challenges are twofold:
- Making your system profitable over the long term
- Being able to effectively test your system
How to create a reliable system?
To do the above manually can take years to get just one system perfect. Because of this overhead it leaves most traders hedging their bets by using a combination of proven signals along with their own “reading the market” intuition. The end result, they hope, is a system that will perform profitably when they trade it; versus a system they are positive will be profitable when traded.
So, how to can they (and you) get around this conundrum and make a profitable system over the long term without taking years to manually test it? Well, the answer lies with automated trading and this article focuses on building your own MetaTrader 4 and 5 Expert Advisors (EA’s) in particular… Without the need to know any coding.
Why EA builders are the answer…
Not only do EA’s allow you to rapidly test any system you have designed or purchased they also allow you to trade it automatically, freeing you up from checking charts and monitoring or managing trades. A profitable EA is considered the “holy grail” for any trader for this very reason.
There is, however, one problem with EA’s that has, in the past, held back many a trader from turning their system into an auto trading robot… MQL – the coding language behind Meta Trader EA’s.
While MQL may be a blocker for many, there are some free EA builders on the market as well as many effective and affordable ones, and a few that are very sophisticated and more expensive.
This article aims to be the one place on the web you can get a thorough comparison of all the available Meta Trader EA builders in 2014.
Compare EA builders
|Name||Software||MT4/5||GUI*||Free Trial||Money Back Guarantee||Price|
|EA Constructor||Desktop||4||Visual||No||30 days||$265|
|EA Creator||Online||4||Form||No||No||€37 –
|EA Generator||Desktop||4||MT4||No||30 days||$830 or $175/mth|
|EA Wizard||Desktop||4||Form||No||30 days||$190|
|FX Dreema||Desktop & Online||4/5||Visual||Restricted||No||$7.90 –
|FX EA Builder||Online||4||Form||Unlimited||N/A||FREE|
|Forex Generator||Desktop||4/5||Visual||9 days||No||$99 –
|Molanis||Desktop||4/5||Visual||10 days||No||$69.99 –
|StrategyQuant||Desktop||4||Visual||14 days||No||$695 –
|Trading Studio||Desktop||4||Visual||Yes||No||€299 –
|Visual Traders Studio||Desktop||4/5||Visual||10 days||30 days||$129 or
*Graphical User Interface (what you interact with on the screen)
And here’s some more detail (my views only) to help you make a decision as to which EA builder might be right for you:
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Unfortunately there is limited information about how the EA Constructor actually works. I found the above screenshot after a 5 minute Google search as there didn’t seem to be anything on their site.
FX Builder’s EA Constructor takes a different approach than most other EA builders out there. Their primary focus is on creating you profitable EA’s rather than just EA’s themselves.
Staying true to this approach they are willing to place any profitable EA’s their customers create (using their EA Constructor I presume) in their online store, alongside the EA Constructor and another EA they sell on the site (Forex Spectre).
EA Constructor also comes with 6 EA’s, of which each includes real live “verified” account proof you can view on the site… Well sort of. Let’s just say two thirds of the account proof is real and one EA shows demo account proof only. At first glance it looks like one or two of the strategies use some sort of martingale approach where draw downs get scarily close to 100%. That said, the Pro EA looks solid and has 318% in returns at the time of writing.
They also offer a Client Account Management service you can join.
[box type=”info”] My view: The end results look great… But at least show me how the product works.
The first thing to do on this site is to ignore the sales video on the homepage, it’ll tell you absolutely nothing about the product and possibly have you sitting in a hypnotic trance for the next 30 minutes. What you do want to watch instead are the Video Tutorials, found in the left navigation. Note, if you’re on Chrome you’ll have to delve into the source code to pluck out the YouTube links… not very helpful from the site creator and possibly a sign of what’s to come.
Upon watching the video’s you’ll see how this EA builder operates and with an old fashioned web interface it’s functional and clunky to say the least.
If you’re looking for the price and a place to subscribe you’ll need to register first. It looks like there was a demo option available in the past but this is no longer.
And, lastly, the dating website banner ads on several pages are also quite bemusing and leave me wondering if I can trust in this organisation or its product.
[box type=”info”] My view:
The owner has let the site go, so you can only imagine where the product is at.
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From BJF Trading Group the EA Generator is more than just your typical EA builder it uses Neural Networks or Machine Learning to create EA’s.
How does it do this? Well, you load the software into your MT4 – just as you would a standard EA or indicator. You then start placing trades or marking trades you would take on the chart with the provided buy and sell arrows. The software sees these signals, learns how you place them by analysing candle patterns and builds up knowledge over time until it can place the same trades you would place.
It basically builds a system/algorithm and creates an EA based on your intuition or chart reading abilities. Pretty cool eh!
It can also be used to search for new and profitable strategies… I’m not sure how it does this but it sounds impressive nevertheless.
[box type=”info”]My view: Ideal for those with a complex and profitable manual system that partly relies on your intuition or chart reading skills.
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The EA Tree is what I’d consider an EA builder that is part of the “typical EA builder” family.
It has a friendly GUI that allows you to see the entire strategy on one screen so you can easily see if you have created the strategy as per your requirements.
I recommend watching and following along with the three video tutorials as they will give you the basic skills you need to create your own strategy going forward. Jumping in and trying to figure out how it works without watching these will leave you frustrated and moving onto the next builder in hope of a better experience.
Other points to note are:
- You can switch between German and English translations
- If you want to create both MT4 and MT5 EA’s then you’ll need to buy each product separately
[box type=”info”] My view: Has a GUI you’ll become familiar with, is ideal for German speakers but not so good for those that need both MT4 & 5 code.
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A lower priced and more simplistic offering from Strategy Quant, EA Wizard is a well thought out step by step EA builder. Even though it lacks the common “drag, drop and connect” GUI interface, the step by step form based approach is done in such a way that it keeps you focused and delivers enough real (unabbreviated) information to help you understand the rules you have put in place.
The only drawback I could “potentially” see is for those who have a complex strategy with many rules and conditions. You may find it hard to bug fix and or get your strategy working as it should, simply due to the GUI. But I’m only guessing at this point.
EA Wizard has a great support section that you can review at your leisure before purchasing, including several video tutorials, advanced techniques and example strategies.
Another positive sign are the release notes. With 9 releases spanning November 2012 – September 2013, this tells me the product has been improved to fix bugs and add features. That said, we’re a year on now and with no more releases since this time last year. It may be the core product is now performing as it should and meeting customer expectations.
[box type=”info”] My view: A well supported EA builder using an easy to understand form based GUI with plenty of tools to help set you up for success.
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A simple yet effective form based online EA builder. If you have a simple system or quickly want to see what it takes to build an EA then this free online EA builder could be your answer.
Ironically it’s quite intuitive; you create both open and close, buy and sell logic. There is, however, a rather short documentation page that includes a video walk through.
Where you’ll come unstuck with this tool is when you use it for a more complex system. The constant reloading of the page and the eventual length of each page may result in a frustrating experience.
The other benefit of ForexEAdvisor is that it allows you to share your EA with others who visit the site. That said, it seems to be limited to the last 50 so there is no telling if there is any substance behind these EA’s.
[box type=”info”] My view: An easy starting point if you want to see what it takes to build an EA, but if you’re after anything other than a simple system you should invest your time elsewhere.
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One of the best GUI’s I’ve seen, and I’m only looking at the online version. The fact that it breaks up rules into System, Custom and Patterns means you can really spell out your system on the GUI. I was particularly impressed with how they handled the candle pattern creation. You basically put the candles in the pattern you want, so you can see them on the screen, which makes it ultra easy to work with instead of trying to visualize the candles in your head and working only with data.
Along with its ultra easy GUI, it also has an extensive knowledge base you can call upon for help with all sorts of trading situations, e.g. Custom loop: Trailing Stop.
Recent positive reviews (last month at the time of writing) are also a good sign that FX Dreema is one to watch.
[Update 21st July 2015: The candlestick creation tool has been removed from the FX Dreema because of lack of interest, that said, the other candlestick tools are much easier to use and do exactly the same job… I’m talking from experience here as I’ve now been using this EA builder for the past 9 months and love it!]
[box type=”info”] My view: Ideal for candle pattern systems, or any complex system for that matter and you’ll love working with the GUI when you understand it.
FX EA Builder
Without doubt the simplest of the EA builders. No apparent validation on the fields with this form based GUI. A step down from the ForexEAdvisor. You really need to know what you’re doing as the tutorial is practically nonexistent. However, they do have a video that walks you through the process if you really want to stick around (you can watch it above).
[box type=”info”] My view: You’d be better off with ForexEAdvisor as it has more functionally and better documentation.
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Part of the “typical EA builder” family with a drag, drop and connect GUI. Although the interface is outdated in design there are some nice features that make EA Generator stand out from the rest, e.g. pre built common blocks of code which save you doing the grunt work.
A good point to note is the number of releases they developers have carried out. While I can’t see when the last one occurred they are up to version 6.X of the software, so there has been some ongoing development.
[box type=”info”] My view: The GUI isn’t going to blow you away but some of the unique features may be enough to make this your favorite.
I downloaded Molanis a number of years ago and had a play around with their trial version and was impressed at the time. That said, I hadn’t tried any of the other EA builders so had nothing to compare it against. It has the traditional EA builder GUI and although the website is a little outdated, the software is regularly updated and they have a number of other complementary products.
Molanis have recently partnered with Alpari to offer it free to customers with funded accounts in the UK, China and Spain. They also appear to have other white labeling partnerships, e.g. IronFX.
[box type=”info”] My view: An established EA builder and ideal for the intermediate trader, but advanced traders may want more.
The key point of difference of NoProgra is its translation of the MQL code into natural language, i.e. the language we would use in daily conversations.
This comes in handy when you’re trying to review your algorithm for correctness as it’s much easier to decipher a sentence than a lot of brackets, numbers and commas… Unless you’re a proficient MQL coder, that is.
Although they don’t have a nice drag and drop GUI, the natural language approach is a nice change and from the feedback I’ve read, customers appear to appreciate it.
The documentation is solid but not extensive at 31 pages and an accompanying video (see above).
Since their commercial launch back in 2012, however, they are yet to provide an updated version. Nothing too alarming there, but after two years you’d like to think there would be some more innovation coming from this forward thinking outfit.
[box type=”info”] My view: Perfect for the non techies who prefer working with words rather than numbers and symbols.
StrategyQuant could be considered the ultimate EA builder. The only thing you’ll find it’s lacking is the ability to build MT5 EA’s. Instead they’ve opted to open the doors up and provide EA’s for the popular Ninja Trader and Tradestation trading platforms.
StrategyQuant takes EA development to a new level. Included in their plethora of features are: machine learning techniques and genetic programming to automatically generate EA’s for different markets and timeframes, robustness tests to limit the chance of curve-fitting, strategy optimization through walk forward analysis, Monte Carlo and 3D charting.
It works a little like BJF’s EA Generator, but it does a whole lot more. You put in what you’d like from a system, e.g. Number of trades, draw down %, net profit etc… Hit the start button and it’ll go off and randomly create new trading strategies using your preferences, test them all immediately and save the ones that fit your requirements for you to review, test further and then export as EA’s.
[box type=”info”] My view: A revolutionary approach to an EA builder and by far the most sophisticated of the bunch. Great for those without a clear strategy who like to optimize.
An Italian EA builder that requires translation when you visit the site (if you’re not Italian that is). Where you may come unstuck is when you start using the product as I’m unsure if there is an English language setting option (there is no mention on the site). That said, you can try the free demo and see for yourself.
Another traditional approach to an EA builder with a nice drag and drop GUI. It integrates directly into MT4 so that you can test your EA live, on demo or in the Strategy Tester.
They also offer operational consultancy as an add-on service.
[box type=”info”] My view: One for the Italians, you can get similar through the likes of EA Tree and Molanis.
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Visual Traders Studio (VTS)
From iExpertAdvisor, VTS has been around for a while and the team there are dedicated to making this an EA builder to outshine the other typical drag, drop and connect type builders. They constantly listen to customer feedback and relentlessly provide updates with feature enhancements alongside necessary bug fixes.
Some of the other unique features include: being able to see your algorithm walk you through where it’s at while it’s in action on the chart, easily create trading grids with just a few clicks, identifies 50+ candle stick patterns on its own, finding the trend or average of any indicator with a tick of a box and many more.
[box type=”info”] My view: If you like the idea of drag, drop and connect EA builders you should have VTS on your consideration list.
Well, I hope you like this through overview of all the major EA builders on the market. From here I’m going to suggest two things:
- Check out my next post (it’s not ready yet so you’ll have to subscribe to my newsletter below) where I’ll take one of the above EA builders for a spin and walk you through how you can use it to create a product you can use yourself or sell here in our Traders Marketplace.
- Download an EA builder with a free trial, spend some time learning how to use it and have a go at creating your first EA using all the knowledge you have built up to date.
And finally, if you have any questions or feedback feel free to post a reply below.