UPDATE: Traders Gym is now part of ThinkTrader. Learn about the newest version here.
I think Forex Tester is a fantastic product.
There's no doubt about it.
But it is not perfect, nothing is I guess.
However, there are some things that could be done to make Forex Tester more user friendly and portable. I still don't understand why nobody has been able to come out with something that will give them some competition.
Well, the folks at Trade Interceptor are sure making a run at it. In fact, they are trying to give both Forex Tester and Metatrader some real competition.
And that's a good thing…for us traders.
So in this post, I'm going to put Trade Interceptor's backtesting product, Traders Gym through it's paces and see if it can compete with Forex Tester 2 as the premier manual backtesting software program. But first, let's take a look at how I would improve Forex Tester.
What I Would Want To See In A Forex Tester Alternative
As I said in the beginning, Forex Tester is already a fantastic product, so I'm kind of nitpicking here. But it hasn't been updated in awhile and this is what I would like to see in a new version.
- Make it compatible with Macs and Linux. Seriously, I don't know many people who use Windows anymore. Microsoft no longer makes relevant technology. I would love to get rid of my Windows XP installation with VMWare on my Mac and the only reason I keep it around is to use Forex Tester.
- Make it mobile compatible. It would be great to be able to take my testing on the road and use it with iOS. I guess a few people use Android too, so there would need to be a version for those devices also. If they could figure out a “handoff” type feature where you could move seamlessly from your laptop to your mobile device, that would be great.
- Make it easier to build indicators and automated systems. Some sort of “easy language” or GUI builder would be great.
- Simplify the interface. I can certainly see the appeal of making the Forex Tester interface look like Metatrader, but there is a better way.
- Step up the analytics. The reporting is still super basic and a couple of the metrics like drawdown doesn't always work correctly. More detailed reports would be super helpful.
- Although paying for Forex Tester was one of the best purchases that I have ever made, free would be great.
So now let's see how Traders Gym stacks up. Can it make for Forex Tester's shortcomings?
The Good Of Traders Gym
Traders Gym is included in the standard installation of Trade Interceptor and is totally free. So that is already a step in the right direction.
It is available for all major operating systems, including iOS, OSX, Android, Blackberry and Windows. That is fantastic!
The iOS version is my go-to charting app on my iPhone. It is so much better than Metatrader on mobile.
Now let's take a look at the interface. I really like how they have stripped it down to only the essential elements. It is easy to understand and you don't have to hunt for the tools you are looking for.
When you compare that to the Forex Tester interface, it looks dated and complex. I haven't even used some of the buttons.
The Traders Gym capability is also available on mobile devices. I haven't tried it yet, but if it works as well as the desktop version, that would be amazing. More on that in a future post.
The Bad Of Traders Gym
Alright, all that stuff looks good, but does it stand up to real world use?
First, let's take a look at the reporting feature. When you click on the Trading Report button, this is part of the report that you see.
It opens in a browser window and has the feel of a Metatrader report, but much less detailed. It is comparable to the Forex Tester 2 report, so there is no real improvement there.
Next, the most important thing to me is the amount of time that I can backtest. As you probably know, you should test a system for as long as possible to figure out its robustness.
This is where a lot of software packages fall short. Forex Tester provided a good amount of free, high-quality data from the beginning and that was one of the biggest selling points for me.
When I dove into the configuration setup in Traders Gym, I found that the maximum testing time is 5 years and 20 days. Although that is what it said on the screen, there was actually only one year of data available for even common pairs like the EUR/USD.
Compare that to Forex Tester, which provides data all the way back to 2001 for all the pairs that they provide data for.
That was the deal killer for me. To me, there is no use in using software that only has one year of data. Any other benefits of the backtesting function would be moot.
Also, there are elements from my last review that still have me shaking my head. For example, there is no way to quit the program by using the standard Command + Q keystroke. You can't even exit via the main menu.
This shows a general lack of attention to detail. Much like the very limited data, these are things that make an otherwise beautifully designed program look amateur.
So the bottom line is that Forex Tester is still the best manual backtesting software for Forex trading. Traders Gym by Trade Interceptor represents the future of backtesting but it is not ready for prime time yet.
The fact that you cannot backtest a significant amount of time is the biggest deal killer for me. It goes to show that free is not always best.
I really hope that Trade Interceptor keeps improving Traders Gym because it is a step in the right direction. Remember that a lot of programs, including Forex Tester and Metatrader were not great in the beginning.