Trader’s Tech – Writing Your Own EA Part 40 – Test Data

Forex Robot

Finally a break from the rain. We’ve had a couple of nice sunny days on the farm. Being a South Carolina boy, I’m not used to days in the low 80s during mid-July. It’s been beautiful. We’re headed to Texas in a few days, though. How intelligent is that – Texas in July?

If you’re new to this series and want to check it out from the beginning, you can find that here. And look here for a list of all the programming articles.

In Part 39 we discussed how to go about getting good test data for your Strategy Tester (ST.) In this installment, we’ll further discuss test data.

As I mentioned in the MT4 installation article be sure to install your MT4 platforms in a folder like c:\MT4s or something like it. Don’t accept the default installation folder (c:\Program Files or c:\Program Files (x86)) because MT4 writes files to its own directory structure (a practice which is strictly against Windows standard programming practice) and needs to be in a folder where it can have the necessary permissions to do so. If you are never going to do anything with your MT4 platform but trade, it’s probably not a big deal. But if you use any  profiles, templates, scripts, indicators or EAs (hereinafter called “stuff”) that are not included with the MT4 package, you will find it much easier to do in a different folder location. Otherwise you may have to look in “virtual store” folders to find files that have been written by MT4 programs. If you have that situation, I recommend that you re-install your MT4 platform to a different folder. After re-installation, you can move whole folders (experts, profiles, templates, sounds, etc) from the old installation to the new one to move your custom “stuff” to the new installation. You will have to stop and restart the MT4 platform after moving the “stuff” so the platform will recognize the existence of the “stuff”.  If your system has indeed placed some of your “stuff” in a virtual store folder, you should be able to find them at c:\Users\%Username%\AppData\Local\VirtualStore\Program Files (x86)\%MT4 Platform Name%, substituting your login name for %Username% and the actual folder name for your MT4 platform for %MT4 Platform Name%.

To pick up where we left off yesterday, since we’re only using this platform for the ST, you don’t need to move the history (*.hst) files. The only files used by the tester are the *.fxt files. You will have to stop and restart your testing MT4 platform for it to recognize the files you copied over to the tester/history folder.  You now have that data available for testing on whichever pairs/time frames you generated and copied over (there should be a file for each pair/time frame combination.) Each of my files, with date range from 2007 to present, run from 1.8GB to over 3 GB in size. So if you have a complete set (over 60 files), it could eat up 200GB. If you have limited disk space, you may want to delete the *.fxt and *.hst files from the experts/files folder of your conversion platform when you’ve copied them over to the tester platform. Don’t delete everything in your experts/files folder, though, in case another EA uses that folder (several Winner’s Edge EAs use that folder.)

You’ll need one last element to pull your testing setup together and unfortunately, this one’s not a freebie. You can do this for free if you’re willing to spend the time and effort to work through the details. But sometimes your time is worth more than a few bucks you would spend for a good tool. Plus, a winning strategy will make you more by a factor of several magnitudes. I use Tick Data Suite from Birt’s EA Review. The software comes with good installation instructions. Among other things, this will allow you to use data files in excess of 2GB in size (one of MT4s limitations) and allow you to use a real variable spread for your testing. It’s quite versatile and definitely work the $97 fee. (Disclaimer: I don’t now nor have I ever benefited from the sale of Tick Data Suite or any other product sold at Birt’s EA Review.)

That covers test data for now. Next time we’ll discuss further refinements to our EA.
Thanks for your attention and please follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.




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