Documentation, IB Backfill, Data accuracy, "nearest fut

Questions about MultiCharts and user contributed studies.
GD
Posts: 20
Joined: 03 Apr 2006

Documentation, IB Backfill, Data accuracy, "nearest fut

Postby GD » 06 Apr 2006

Appreciate software
First of all, let me say that I do appreciate your software. It’s a very powerful platform and is sure to improve with time. One of the things I most appreciate is the attention paid to this forum. I do get the sense this is a partnership. We’re getting the software at a reduced price in exchange for, in essence, beta testing it. That’s fine. So in that spirit …

Documentation
The documentation on the help page is a guide to the mechanics of operation. It doesn’t give some needed background and motivation for the features. I’m not talking about a lot more information – just a few more sentences. Not all of us are coming from another platform (e.g. TS) or are 20 year veteran traders, so some of the concepts are brand new to us. For example, you have a substantial feature on Sessions and Custom Session Templates. I get the rough idea that it involves exchanges that have unusual hours or are not used by my broker etc., but that’s all I can gather. I wouldn’t know what to do with it.

I have read the Help section several times now, and I’ve played with the software for a week. I’m getting an idea about the vast majority of it, but it would be very nice to have better documentation – especially in some key areas.

For example, I harangued you plenty about the plot arrow attributes (arw_new, arw_setcolor, arw_settext, etc.) I think having some documentation on the passing parameters for these functions would have saved considerable time. I wonder what other functions are available that we don’t know about?

IB Backfill time
Another more relevant and important area of confusion is the section on Online Mode Data Connection. Somehow, I have a feeling this impacts the speed at which I can get up and going but perhaps not. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough information to judge. I use IB, and I’ve gotten the message from this forum that IB is slow and inaccurate? I assume you use ActiveX to access their data, and I know that’s not their favorite API connection. Nevertheless, through trial and error (again, no documentation), I’ve learned that I don’t have to “connect” all my symbols. I guess “connecting” a symbol that I’m not charting will make the data available more quickly when I do decide to chart it? Also, I leave the requested minute data at 500 bars, and it doesn’t seem to matter if I shut down and start up again right away. It still takes the same amount of time to retrieve data, as if it’s beginning from nothing. What if I specified just 50 bars? Would it pull the first 50 from IB and the rest from the local database? How does this work? Would it quicken the data retrieval?

Data Accuracy
Concerning data accuracy, I’ve noticed several spurious data errors in the day end data. Some errors list a stock price high of 10000. Chart auto-scaling smashes the rest of the plot since 10000 >> any other data. So I have to correct the data. When I check the same days at IB using the real time plots feature in TWS, however, the errors aren’t there. Attached is an example showing recent day ends for MMM (April 3-5). So where could these errors come from - from IB or does MC somehow alter the data?

Use of databases
The whole area of how to use, combine, substitute, and connect to databases is still fuzzy. For example, if I wanted to connect to more that one database, how would it be done? Does one write over the other? How might I get end of day data from Yahoo? Would this be better quality data? Why does it take so long to retrieve data from a supposedly local data file? If we knew more about the actual process of coordinating the use of these databases, we might be able to avoid doing things we know will cause a big retrieval delay.

The help screen says, “Most professional data vendors as well as a number of advanced brokers provide history data for the ultimate trader convenience. The amount and quality of data provided varies from vendor to vendor, though; see the table for a general overview of history data feeds. The program demonstrates the best performance with such data vendors, freeing the user from the need to download missing data manually. The history data is stored in the local database and needs minimal effort for reuse, as only missing data has to be downloaded instead of the entire period. Besides, as data is stored locally, it is accessible even when vendor servers are not; all real-time data from the vendor is stored in the database as well, so no repeated queries must be sent when charts are created again. This cuts down on the Internet traffic and accelerates work. 1 tick, 1 minute and 1 day resolutions are stored in the database.”

Is this really true? If I shut MC down and start right back up again, some of the day data (about 12 charts, 6 months worth) seems to come up fast while there is substantial delay (5 minutes) getting the other 10 or so day charts. I don't try to grad tick data. The 1 minute and 5 minute data charts (500 bars) seem to try to reload from scratch, because they take about 20 minutes. If I start MC without initially starting IB’s TWS, the historical data takes just as long to come up (5 minutes) and is clearly coming from local storage, but it does eventually load. In this mode, the 1 and 5 minute charts try to “Establish a connection” and never come up – or at least not after an hour.

Desired feature:
It would be very nice to be able to specify the order in which tiled windows are auto-arranged. I can’t figure out the ordering scheme used to determine where windows are located, upon auto-arranging, and I spend a fair amount of time trying to figure out what’s where.

Volume scale – according to “price” in hint window.
I couldn’t figure out how the Volume scale relates to the actual volumes I’m seeing, but I note that the volume scale does matches a “price” figure when the hint window is placed over the volume plots. Why doesn’t the scale show the volume? The “price” that’s listed doesn’t seem to relate to the price of the symbol. What “price” is it referring to?

“Nearest future”
I’ve seen this phrase used in many places on the site. It is used to indicate that the version in the “nearest future” will be free for those who purchase now. What does “nearest future” mean? Does it mean only one update will be free? Will free updates be available to those who are willing beta testers now and into the “farthest future”? ;-)

Thanks again. I could spend an equal amount of time and space extolling all the great things about MC. But you already know all that, right?

Regards,

GD
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IB_MC_comparison_for_MMM.pdf
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User avatar
Alex Kramer
Posts: 834
Joined: 23 Feb 2006

Re: Documentation, IB Backfill, Data accuracy, "nearest

Postby Alex Kramer » 11 Apr 2006

Sorry for taking so long to respond to your post, we're most grateful for such detailed attention. I'll comment on your post below.


GD wrote:Documentation
The documentation on the help page is a guide to the mechanics of operation. It doesn’t give some needed background and motivation for the features...

Thanks for the comment, especially since we don’t get much feedback on our Help section. We plan to devote substantial time to updating and improving the Help.

GD wrote:
For example, I harangued you plenty about the plot arrow attributes (arw_new, arw_setcolor, arw_settext, etc.) I think having some documentation on the passing parameters for these functions would have saved considerable time. I wonder what other functions are available that we don’t know about?

You're welcome to our knowledgebase of materials that you can find at http://tssupport.com/support/base/
There is a number of extensions to EasyLanguage in development; they will be documented at the time when the developers decide they are fit to be made available to the public. I appreciate your enthusiasm and willingness to do things by trial and error, but some things are just not supported so far.
GD wrote:IB Backfill time
Another more relevant and important area of confusion is the section on Online Mode Data Connection. Somehow, I have a feeling this impacts the speed at which I can get up and going but perhaps not. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough information to judge. I use IB, and I’ve gotten the message from this forum that IB is slow and inaccurate?

All we can say is that there are faster and better commercial datafeeds, such as eSignal.
GD wrote:
I assume you use ActiveX to access their data, and I know that’s not their favorite API connection.

No, we use sockets.
GD wrote:
Nevertheless, through trial and error (again, no documentation), I’ve learned that I don’t have to “connect” all my symbols. I guess “connecting” a symbol that I’m not charting will make the data available more quickly when I do decide to chart it?

Yes, that's right
GD wrote:
Also, I leave the requested minute data at 500 bars, and it doesn’t seem to matter if I shut down and start up again right away. It still takes the same amount of time to retrieve data, as if it’s beginning from nothing. What if I specified just 50 bars? Would it pull the first 50 from IB and the rest from the local database? How does this work? Would it quicken the data retrieval?

Try using Online mode in Preferences -> Data Server mode. This will answer your questions.
GD wrote:
Data Accuracy
Concerning data accuracy, I’ve noticed several spurious data errors in the day end data. Some errors list a stock price high of 10000. Chart auto-scaling smashes the rest of the plot since 10000 >> any other data. So I have to correct the data. When I check the same days at IB using the real time plots feature in TWS, however, the errors aren’t there. Attached is an example showing recent day ends for MMM (April 3-5). So where could these errors come from - from IB or does MC somehow alter the data?

The screenshots you sent were for different dates, we were not able to find a matching data point in them.
GD wrote:Use of databases
The whole area of how to use, combine, substitute, and connect to databases is still fuzzy. For example, if I wanted to connect to more that one database, how would it be done?

Only one database can be used at a time, you can keep an inactive backup though.
GD wrote:Does one write over the other?

Yes
GD wrote:How might I get end of day data from Yahoo?

From the Frrequotes data source
GD wrote:Would this be better quality data?

No. It's free data after all.
GD wrote:

Why does it take so long to retrieve data from a supposedly local data file?
[/quote]
Depends on the file, its size etc. - see below.
GD wrote:... If I start MC without initially starting IB’s TWS, the historical data takes just as long to come up (5 minutes) and is clearly coming from local storage, but it does eventually load. In this mode, the 1 and 5 minute charts try to “Establish a connection” and never come up – or at least not after an hour.

MultiCharts waits for the data vendor's response (which may take minutes) and then loads data from local storage. You can experiment with Online and Offine modes to see the difference.
GD wrote:Desired feature:
It would be very nice to be able to specify the order in which tiled windows are auto-arranged.

How would you like them to be arranged, we're open for suggestions?
GD wrote:Volume scale ...

Volume charts are a specific way of representing trades, here’s an explanation from the MultiCharts Help:
A volume-based chart consist of bars. Each bar displays volume as a set amount of contracts traded or as the number of contracts in bid size or ask size depending on the selected field type.
Since the bar is opened, the volumes are added for every incoming tick. often as a new tick arrives, the total current bar volume exceeds the set amount. In this case part of the tick volume required to close the bar stays in it and the excess is transferred to the next bar.
For instance, 4 ticks arriving from a data provider have volumes of 300, 150, 100 and 450 contracts. The 500 contracts volume chart will be created as following: the first volume bar will completely include the first two ticks (300 and 150 contracts) and 50 contracts from the third bar; the remaining 50 contracts from the third bar will go to the second volume bar.
This is why there is no volume marks on the X scale - bars are shown as identical in size, because they all have the same volume – i.e. 100, 50 or 500 contracts. The bars displayed on the volume charts are not to be linked to bars on any time-based chart, the “price” shown in the Hint floating window refers to the current cursor position on the X axis – it changes if you move the mouse pointer up and down.

GD wrote:“Nearest future”
I’ve seen this phrase used in many places on the site. It is used to indicate that the version in the “nearest future” will be free for those who purchase now. What does “nearest future” mean?


By the “nearest future” we mean the current year, with upgrading to all new functionality will be free for all registered users. Further updates will be priced very reasonably.

Thank you very much for the feedback.
Last edited by Alex Kramer on 12 Apr 2006, edited 1 time in total.

Chris
Posts: 150
Joined: 17 Nov 2005

Re: Documentation, IB Backfill, Data accuracy, "nearest

Postby Chris » 11 Apr 2006

Alex Kramer wrote:By the “nearest future” we mean the current year, with upgrading to all new functionality will be free for all registered users. Further updates will be priced very reasonably.


That means that I will be charged for every update (or major update) after the so called "Gold Release"?

Thanks for providing clearity,

Chris

User avatar
Alex Kramer
Posts: 834
Joined: 23 Feb 2006

Postby Alex Kramer » 12 Apr 2006

Chris -

Every major release will be reasonably priced, interemediate releases will be free. By major releases we mean such ones that add significant new functionality, like, say, the generations of Windows OS.

TraderJ

Re: Documentation, IB Backfill, Data accuracy, "nearest

Postby TraderJ » 12 Apr 2006

Alex Kramer wrote:
GD wrote:Desired feature:
It would be very nice to be able to specify the order in which tiled windows are auto-arranged.

How would you like them to be arranged, we're open for suggestions?

I am surprised MC can't arrange the chart windows in tiles. I thought this was pretty standard stuff in a GUI interface.
e.g. I have 4 chart windows, I want to display them in 2X2 windows with the click of a button (or from the drop down manual).

User avatar
Alex Kramer
Posts: 834
Joined: 23 Feb 2006

Postby Alex Kramer » 12 Apr 2006

The Window->Arrange All command tiles all the open windows, it's been in MultiCharts since the very beginning.

What the user wants is some predefined order in tiling a dozen or so windows, like making sure the Quote Manager is always in the bottom row and the tiled charts are sorted left to right, top to bottom in order of creation etc. - if I'm not mistaken.

TraderJ

Postby TraderJ » 12 Apr 2006

arh... got it... how come I didn't see it in the first place?


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