Getting into trading can be potentially rewarding, but not without encountering challenges. Some difficulties you may experience are constantly monitoring market conditions and an asset’s prices, learning to diversify your portfolio, and calculating risks before making trades.
This is why many traders have turned to automated trading to make things easier. Financial Express notes that automated trading—or algorithmic trading—involves using a computer program to initiate buy and sell orders, automatically submit them to a market exchange, and even place stop loss orders once the trade loses a pre-set amount of money.
With such trading software using programming languages to carry out these trading actions, users can trade more efficiently and effectively.
While several programming languages can be used for trading, one stands out: MQL5. This proprietary programming language is preferred by many traders, and you may understand and appreciate why if you have experience in programming.
If you’re interested in trading, programming, or both, here are some things you should know about the programming language MQL5.
What is MQL5?
The MetaQuotes Language 5 (MQL5) is a specialized C++ based high-level, object-oriented programming language. It assists traders in conducting automated trading, since it enables them to create and customize their own indicators and test trading strategies on the MetaTrader platform. It was created by the software company MetaQuotes and was first released in 2011.
The company developed this programming language for its multi-asset trading platform, MetaTrader 5 (MT5). This is the fifth generation of MetaTrader software popular in the trading community, with it offering increased functionalities and features compared to its predecessor, largely due to MQL5.
As briefly mentioned above, this programming language enables the creation of scripts, trading robots, and indicators. It eliminates the limitations of the company’s previous programming languages—such as the MQL4—which only contained three predefined functions. On the other hand, the MQL5 has better—and more—functions and graphical objects that help its users trade more efficiently.
Here are some of the features and functions of the MQL5:
Event-based Expert Advisors
If you’re unfamiliar with the MetaTrader platforms, one of its notable features is its Expert Advisors. These trading robots can only be found on MetaTrader. Here, their sole purpose is to automate your trades. Simply tell them what to do in specific trading situations, and they’ll take care of the rest.
MQL5 is event-driven, meaning it follows an event-based trading logic. It features the OnTick(), a symbol that handles events in Expert Advisors. Traders can use the tick flow (an update regarding a stock, currency pair, or any asset’s price) of any asset to receive entry or exit signals.
As a result, traders can utilize event-based Expert Advisors to execute trading actions within seconds and profit from a price change or market event. They can also use this feature to place multiple orders consecutively. If you want to make the most out of your trading actions, event-based Expert Advisors can help you succeed.
Multi-currency Expert Advisors
Aside from being event-based, traders can also develop multi-currency Expert Advisors using MQL5 on the MT5. Forex traders who trade multiple currency pairs are the individuals who benefit the most from this feature for the following reasons:
For instance, they can trade multiple symbols, like EUR/USD, AUD/GBP, and JPY/USD, and simultaneously test these on the strategy tester. With it, you can check how efficient and successful your chosen Expert Advisors will be before you use them.
After this, users can debug their customized Expert Advisors to make them more streamlined and then use them with multiple currency pairs. Multi-currency Expert Advisors help diversify trading portfolios—especially when it comes to forex.
This is the most extensive application library to date that caters explicitly to automatic trading. It contains source codes, scripts, and indicators that can be used solely for the MT5.
It’s a free library, so anybody with access to the MT5 can access it and use its resources to help develop their codes and other materials using MQL5. Moreover, traders are allowed and encouraged to post their developments for others to use or learn from.
Since programmers and traders can develop MQL5 according to their needs and preferences, it’s not uncommon to encounter problems when it comes to coding or similar issues.
Fortunately, MQL5 has a community that users can access and participate in. It features several unique services for MT5 users, such as virtual hosting, a WebTerminal for technical analyses, a social trading platform, and a market for trading applications.
Using this, traders can openly talk about the MQL5’s programming features, issues that they’ve run into, and how they solved them, upgrading their overall trading experience.
MQL5 Cloud Network
This distributed computing cloud network allows users to distribute tasks to multiple computers within a network. With it, any trader who needs to do heavy computations can get the help of users with excess CPU time on their respective computers for quicker analyses and results.
By having multiple computations done at once, people using MQL5 can run thousands of tests to analyze and monitor their potential strategies’ success rates. In doing so, they can debug or make changes to certain strategies and get them ready for implementation at a quicker pace compared to using only their own computers. With the MQL5 Cloud Network, you’ll have more tools and opportunities to make the most out of your trading strategies.
Earlier this year, MetaQuotes introduced a new, secure messenger where traders can create personalized news channels, chat with fellow traders from all over the globe, and study technical and fundamental analyses with one another.
Compared to the MQL5 Community, this allows instant messaging for quicker responses—especially for more straightforward questions or queries that traders may want to consult with more knowledgeable and experienced individuals.
Unlike the MQL5 Community, which has hosting services and a trading application market, this messenger is purely for convenient communication.
How Does MQL5 Differ From Other Programming Languages?
Besides MQL5, other programming languages are often used for algorithmic or automated trading. Here are a few examples and how they differ from MQL5:
If you’re a seasoned programmer, you may have already noticed how Python is often used in different trading platforms. Many programmers prefer Python because its syntax is easy to understand, it has an extensive library that can perform different tasks, and it’s free and open-source.
Since Python doesn’t need to be purchased and is very accessible, many programmers and traders—even those who are beginners—use it to explore and build their skills. While traders can use Python on the MT5, it has a limited scope, less access to MT5’s functionality, and will be slower than MQL5 since it wasn’t specifically made for the trading platform.
Most programmers prefer using R if they’re into statistical computing and graphics. That’s ultimately why you’ll see many traders and programmers use it for devising trading signals with the goal of maximizing their returns.
Although you can use R on MT5 using the mt5R—an R package that offers a framework for those who want to try machine learning-powered analysis and trading—it can be more bothersome than using MQL5, which is already used for these purposes on the trading platform.
Why use MQL5?
Given these features and comparisons, it’s clear why MQL5 is making waves in automated trading circles. This particular programming language enables traders to experiment when it comes to developing their own strategies—even though they’re not experts—as they can get the help of fellow traders within the community to assist in analyzing, computing, and testing their methods.
Upon using MQL5, you’ll also find that it’ll encourage you to gain further trading knowledge and sharpen your trading and programming skills by learning from more experienced individuals. For these particular reasons, the MQL5 remains widely used and preferred by traders.
MQL5 will come in handy if you want to take advantage of technology to make the best trading decisions and increase your chances of succeeding in your trading endeavors. Whether you’re a trader or simply someone who likes studying programming languages used for automation, it’s definitely something you may be interested in.