I have certainly traded on various trading platforms throughout my career. Some platforms were a joy and sheer pleasure to work on; others made me want to set my head on fire. The variety of trading platforms available to traders ranges from terrible platforms to excellent ones.
To meet, I simply list high-quality platforms and terrible ones. Unfortunately, if I take that approach, a pile of lawsuits will build up and if I stop and give up, my mailbox will overflow. So I've picked out a few features of a great online trading platform and listed why I find them particularly effective.
Of course, the effectiveness of a platform is directly related to the quality of the data feed. For this article, we'll assume that all platforms have an appropriate data feed, and simply remove that variable from the discussion.
Here you can find most of the common trading platforms reviewed.
A good platform has a high-quality charting toolbar
Being able to draw trend lines, Fibonacci retracements, pivot points, and many other tools other than me traders may find necessary is essential when using trading and active charts. You don't need a physics degree to draw these symbols easily. The method for entering trend lines and other symbols should be simple. After all, the main focus in trading is the price action on the chart, which doesn't understand how to draw a line on the chart.
A good platform should be easy to read and interpret
A good platform should be easy to read and easy to set up. You do not need to read the 200 page manual to operate the software. Charts should be clear and easy to understand, and index readings should be legible and prominent. A platform that is difficult to set up or requires daily maintenance to set up wastes valuable trading time and ultimately costs traders. A good quality program also saves the previous day's settings and the correct settings should appear when you start the program the next day, so you don't have to add oscillators and indicators every day.
A good platform has a complete oscillator and indicator
There's nothing more annoying than using a platform that doesn't have a complete set of indicators or a way to add those indicators to your chart. Many low-end platforms have 5-6 basic metrics, which is the range of features. Also, with a good platform, you should be able to adjust the duration and other variables of the indicator to your personal preferences. Again, performing these functions should not be excessively time consuming. They should be self-explanatory, and you don't have to page through the dreaded 200-page manual to see how to set up a 14-period setting on a commodity channel index.
A good platform allows for number entry and exit options
A good trading platform will allow you to quickly set the number of contracts you want to trade and provide a means to set a profit target and stop-loss limit. This should be a smooth activity and does not require excessive time. Most good trading platforms also have clauses that allow you to expand your trades at certain profit points. Also good platforms have trailing stops that are simple to set up and easy to understand. You should also be able to set up simple bracket trades with minimal effort.
A good platform never fails or crashes
There is no worse feeling than a brisk trade and failed platform software. There is no excuse for software incompatibility with the operating system. The platform is the essence of the profession and it should be done that way. This particular requirement is one of the things that annoy my pet as I have been trading on a platform that has been built for a very shaky and long and frustrating day.
I have never and will never use that platform again. Software architects are well aware of the design flaws inherent in trading platforms and there is no reason why these flaws should not be addressed in a way that insures traders of a crash-free trading experience. There is nothing worse than buggy software.
Trading platform software has many other unique flaws, but these five stand out as trading killers in my book. I will not tolerate these glitches and will quickly change the platform if these problems occur at any frequency. Of course, one-off defects are also to be expected. However, consistent and recurring flaws in trading platform software are inexcusable.