A trading platform is a software application that is used for trading. It can open, close and manage your trading positions. It is sending your trading orders to your broker for execution. Different brokers will offer you one or more different trading platforms to use.
It is important to know that not all trading platforms support automated trading, using expert advisors. Also, a forex robot is an application that is coded strictly for a certain platform. So, if it works on one platform it cannot work on any other. It can work with different brokers but not on different platforms. The reason is that creating robots for different platforms requires different programming skills, usage of different programming languages. So, what are the most common ones that support automated trading and what programming skills they require?
MetaTrader 4 is the most used trading platform in the forex world. It is developed by MetaQuotes Software and it allows using trading using robots. However, this functionality may be disabled by the broker. You can also create custom indicators and scripts. The programs are written in the platform’s proprietary language MQL 4. The language syntax is similar to programming language C. The application for programming, MQL editor, is automatically installed with the platform. Platform’s official site mql5.com is a great resource where you can learn how to create robots. It is a user community where you can also buy and sell different software including EAs. It is an older platform (the first version was released in 2005), so back-testing and optimization process is slower than on other platforms.
MetaTrader 5 is the newer and more advanced version. However, it is not as accepted as the older one. It is supporting expert advisors and custom indicators that are written in MQL5 proprietary programming language. This programming language is different from MQL4, it is object-oriented and its syntax is taken from C++ language. The language editor tool is automatically installed with the platform. It uses the same community website as version 4 where it provides the same service to the platform users.
CTrader is intuitive and easy to use trading platform developed by Spotware. It is offered by few respectable brokers and it supports expert advisors (here are called CTrader automate) and custom indicators. The programming language is well known C# and you edit it using MS Visual Studio. The platforms community web-page is ctrader.com where you can download free and paid CTrader automated applications and where you can also rent the programmer.
NinjaTrader is an advanced trading platform offered by a few leading brokers. It supports automated trading and it uses C# programming language for coding. The platform has its user ecosystem with more than thousands of applications (robots, indicators, and add-ons).
ProRealTime is a web-based trading platform offered by IG Markets and Interactive Brokers. It is an advanced and new platform where automated trading is supported by using prooder applications that are codded in their propriety language that is similar to Basic. It has a built-in EA building tool.
JForex is a proprietary platform developed and offered by Dukascopy bank SA. Tier1 FX and NSFX are other brokers that offer the platform. Strategy and custom indicator coding is performed in well known and widely used Java programming language. You can code in any development tool that supports Java (Eclipse). The broker provides Visual JForex, a free web-based and easy to use the EA building tool. The platform has a community page where you can buy and sell strategies, rent a programmer or offer your programming services. It organizes many monthly trading competitions with good rewards for the winners.
FxTrade trade is a proprietary trading platform that is offered and developed by the Oanda broker. It allows automated trading and uses Java programming language. Unlike other trading platforms, it does not have a user community website.
Trading Station is a proprietary trading platform that has powerful analytical tools, offered by FXCM. It has a built-in EA building tool. In case you prefer to program you can do so using programming language Lua. The broker’s community website fxcmapps.com is a place where you can buy and sell robots. You can also find robots for all other platforms that are offered by the broker.