From the October 01, 2012 issue of Futures Magazine • Subscribe!

Software Review: ADL / X_Trader

Product installation, training, support and user community (4 of 4 stars)

Trading Technologies has been developing professional trading software over the last 18 years.  Customers include banks, hedge funds, FCMs, brokers and proprietary trading firms.  Product focus areas include exchange servers and interfaces, order entry and management software and automated trade strategy development.  ADL has been integrated into the Trading Technologies software suite and benefits from the maturity of its companion products and the Trading Technologies team.  There are Partner and University programs.  Most recently, X_Trader exchange and order entry interfaces were integrated into MathWorks MATLAB, a best-of-class modeling and simulation program widely used in industry and academia.

X_Trader requires a dual-core late model PC with 4GB of RAM.  X_Trader installation was uneventful.  Installing X_Trader results in a total of eight programs on the users PC; for example, the trade simulator is a stand-alone program configured independently.  This is a somewhat more complex environment than the single, self-contained trading application a user may be accustomed to.  ADL Help is well-organized, professionally written and integrated.  The integration of Help Videos within the context of individual ADL Blocks was an added bonus.  In fact, the entire Trading Technologies website is distinguished with a good collection of professionally authored training videos.

The standard use of Forums supports the user community.  The ADL Forum currently contains approximately 600 posts — relatively small but not unexpected as the product launched only recently.  The Trading Technologies support of the forum appears good: Many of the posts this reviewer studied had replies made in the same day and often within several hours of the original post.  There is a “best practices” forum where ADL examples are shared by the Trading Technologies staff and third-party developers. 

The total available market

In this reviewer’s opinion, ADL has achieved its goal of providing a powerful graphical interface for the high-frequency algorithmic trader.  It is very impressive and complete for a first product release, and it has been well integrated into the Trading Technologies suite of software. 

Currently, ADL addresses market-depth-oriented trade strategy development.  Perhaps because of Trading Technologies’ order entry and management focus and its MDTrader legacy, ADL programming against market depth was a rational next step.  In this regard, one can expect ADL to be well received by high frequency and arbitrage traders.  But one has to wonder, what is the Total Available Market (TAM) of this sector of the trading ecosystem?  ADL will require heavy-lifting evangelizing, training and supporting the product; and ADL, on its own, may not greatly increase the pool of high-frequency algorithmic traders – or will it?

On the other hand, with the majority of traders working off price charts using support and resistance levels, should ADL address price chart trading, its impact may be felt more widely.  Price chart traders are notorious for their inability to program textually. Building on the current set of high-quality ADL tools and developing visual programming for price chart traders has the potential to make an even greater impact in the active trading community. 

For 20 years Michael Gutmann was a software engineer and manager at Intel Corporation.  He recently published the second edition of a popular trading text: “The Very Latest E-Mini Trading: Using Market Anticipation to Trade Electronic Futures, 2nd Edition.”  Mike can be reached via www.anticipationtrading.com.

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