In the world of online trading platforms, MetaTrader 4, or MT4, has ruled the marketplace for almost a decade now. The platform was released in 2008, and by 2012, MT4 was not even a question, it was a prerequisite. You could not have a successful brokerage firm without it.
Some of the most successful businesses in the industry are built around this platform now. In 2016, it wasn’t the platform that was revolutionary, but its reliability for users and brokers was what made it the best choice.
However, the main aim of technology is always to make complex decisions easier for us. Automated trading platforms are in place to execute complex trade management principles and reduce human error. So, one has to keep a lookout for other evolving platforms as well. Here we take a look at the key differences between MT4 and TradeStation.
The MT4 scripting language is called MQL4. An integral part of the platform, it can be used to write indicators, codes to perform specific functions upon request, and trading strategies. This versatile language makes MT4 a vast platform, designed specifically for the forex space.
TradeStation is built on the “EasyLanguage” programming language, developed originally for only futures traders. Over the years, the language has been adapted to work well in other markets as well, such as options and stocks, but some of its features still reflect its greater feasibility for the futures markets.
Unlike MQL4, EasyLanguage is based on the code to be executed, on the close of each bar of the chart, to which the strategy is applied. EasyLanguage is less complex than its counterpart in placing and executing trade orders. MQL4 leaves order handling to the programmer, which means that one might have to manage multiple orders on their own.
Perhaps the most coveted feature of MT4 is its array of functions, which either comes as default in the application, or can be downloaded free of cost. Once the system has been downloaded, it is absolutely ready for use. The platform offers opportunities for traders of all skill levels; flexible trading, algorithmic trading and advanced technical analysis. Additional services, like Signals and Market, extend its functionalities. While Signals allows one to copy trades of other successful traders, Market provides access to Expert Advisors and lets one acquire technical indicators free of cost.
TradeStation has been built mostly for advanced users. Professional technical support is the most attractive feature of this platform, which can be accessed through the official product forums. There are additional built-in accessories, and one can download add-ons from third party collaborators too. Unfortunately, these features do not come for free. In fact, there is also a centralised approval system in place for all third-party products. This makes TradeStation much more expensive than most of its competitors.
Another vital aspect is that unlike TradeStation, which mostly limits users to using its own brokerage services, MT4 is compatible with a wide variety of forex brokers services.
With TradeStation, the cost of slippage is added to the trade. Commission costs, brokerage charges and slippage are all treated in the same way. The amount is deducted from a profitable trade and added to a losing trade, and these costs are deducted from all trades, long or short. It is also assumed that the trade will be filled at either the current market price or a specified stop price.
In MT4, each price is a combination of ask and bid prices. The bid/ask spread affects the trading orders here. This lends more accuracy to its figures in back-testing than TradeStation.
Comparing two automated platforms is mostly like comparing apples to oranges. Each platform is capable of handling different markets and/or skill levels, and it all depends on which one suits your needs. Both of them offer automated trading and back-testing options. However, if one is starting out, MT4 is perhaps a more feasible option than TradeStation.
If you liked this educational article, please consult our Risk Disclosure Notice before starting to trade. Trading leveraged products involves a high level of risk. You may lose more than your invested capital.