Types of Trading Software
There are many types of platforms, numerous versions and some specific variations that trading platforms have from one broker to the other. It is important for traders to know these differences as they will ultimately have a bearing on the their trading success.
Traders and investors using the MetaTrader interface monitor real time information on the “ask” and “bid” prices of currency pairs that are of interest to them. The MetaTrader screen displays graphical charts that show how currency prices are developing so that traders can create a strategy to make trades.
- MetaTrader 4 for iPhone/iPad
MetaTrader 4 for iPhone/iPad mobile platform is suitable for all skill levels. The software provides a wide range of features for fully functional Forex trading. You can easily access financial markets from anywhere in the world, at any time and for free.
- Web-based (online) platforms
The web-based platforms run on JAVA, are online-based are accessed by the trader typing the URL into the web browser, from where the login details are used to access the trading platform. This makes the platform lighter and accessible from anywhere, without the need to carry around the computer or hand-held device where a downloadable platform is stored.
- Downloadable trading platforms
The downloadable platforms are software which must be downloaded onto the trading device. They come in form of executable files which must then be unpacked and compiled into the trading platform.
- Mobile Platforms
Mobile trading delivers great features for investors on the move. Most online brokers have developed customized apps for iPhone, iPad and Android as well as browser-based trading for Blackberry and other internet-enabled phones.
Examples of differences between the platforms include:
Spreads Feed – some platforms accept live streaming information from banks in order to offer tight bid/ask spreads and optimal trading liquidity
Selection of Assets – Forex, CFDs, Bitcoin and Futures trading do not use the same set of platform functions as stocks and shares trading.
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Examples of Forex Platform Features
- Forex analysis capabilities – Software applications are very powerful and quick to process data and display the results to traders in the interface screen. Forex platforms often offer a wide variety of tools for analysis, known as technical analysis indicators. What is important is whether they offer the tools you want for your personal forex trading strategy.
- Easy and flexible presentation of information – Online traders vary in how they prefer to see information displayed on their screen. Being able to switch between different types of display such as bar charts, line charts or candlestick charts is one way of handling this.
- Order Types – Many platforms provide opening and closing orders, limit orders such as stop loss orders (closing the position if a certain level of loss is reached).
- Trading statistics – Information on open trades, historical data on closed trades and account balance are some of the basics. Like technical indicators, the trading statistics do not necessarily have to be very extensive; they simply need to provide you with the right information to help your trading.
- Ease of use – Apart from the screen layout, ease of use of forex platforms also covers aspects like the number of clicks a trader needs to accomplish particular actions, online help, tutorials on how to use the platform and Multilanguage support.
- Automation possibilities – scripts, wizards, automated actions triggered by conditions, and application programming interfaces (APIs) are all part of the capabilities of different platforms. Platforms using the Financial Information exchange (“FIX”) protocol for example can then handle streaming data rapidly and safely and offer traders STP (Straight Through Processing), which reduces the trade settlement time significantly.
Platforms must be robust and efficient enough to provide speedy order executions, including during periods of news release, when the forex platform may handle a large number of orders from different traders simultaneously.