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Multicharts observations and multi-monitor support

Multicharts
Monitor-Display

#1

@Mod-MattZ asked that I share my thoughts/rant about my recent evaluation of Multicharts and its approach to supporting multi-monitors.

First I will share a couple of things about me that may color my view on trading software in general. I’ve been trading off and on for about 20 years. I’ve used a lot of different trading software in that time as I tend to switch frequently. I have also worked in the software development field for about 25 years. I tend to have a high standard for software in general and seem to have a knack for finding bugs as is often joked about among my peers. I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to develop profitable auto trading systems through the years. I also find that most desktop software available for day traders is extremely dated and rates very poorly when you start considering user interface design. I’d love to have the resources and opportunity to change this. That said…

I recently took a look at Multicharts as I am in a bit of flux with a couple of platforms and thought I would see how it had evolved. I used it for a period of time that was probably about 8 or so years ago.

Overall I was underwhelmed by the latest version of Multicharts.Net. I did not find that it had changed much, if at all in the past 8 years other than the addition of the .Net platform. Look and feel seemed to be the same as I remembered from the past.

One thing that I did find rather surprising, and I don’t know if this is just a .Net platform thing, or if it applies to both platforms, but in order to run on multiple monitors, you must open a new workspace for each monitor. That doesn’t sound like that big of a deal until you realize that it appears to be a completely separate process, using separate computing resources for each monitor. In my world, that is a bloody hack and not something I would expect from a software package that over $1000.00.

My .02. Hope that someone finds that helpful in making their decision.

FWIW, I am currently using both Ninjatrader 8 and lately have moved onto a second platform called Motivewave. I’ve been a Ninjatrader licensee since 2011. It is mostly a love/hate relationship. (mostly hate). Motivewave has a lot of nice things going for it. For one, it runs on my Windows, Linux and Mac computers. There are a bunch of other new features in their latest v6 beta including a pretty solid DOM for people who like things like Jigsaw. Still room to grow there, but they are making great strides for the futures trader and seem to accept input well.


#2

@RandyT Thank you for putting the time to make such an informative post. You touched on a few subjects, and I would like to address them.

Before we immersed fully in catering our services to self-directed traders, we ran many automated systems for customers and one platform that was always stable as a rock was Multicharts (MC). I can say that many platforms that describe themselves as appropriate for automaton were just a contestant pain to run. We never used Multicharts .NET, rather the Powerlanguage and we hosted it in Chicago via a VPN. This is what started my exploration of MC, and over time I feel for its slick design, charts and the customized dom features from those who place automated trailing orders, fade orders, multiple profit taking, etc. Above all, they are broker-neutral and can run on multiple feeds like Rithmic and CQG.
Also, One of the commodity trading advisors that we carry (interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6XjyDRTqxo) uses MC for automation and is quite a successful trader.

I am not sure whether you know or not, TradingView is run by the same people as MC, and they have done a great job in creating the best web-based charts (in my opinion) that I have seen. From a usability standpoint, and I judge it as a broker, I think that MC location of DOM, charts, features, are placed right and you can tell that there is a match between programming and trading. As for the charting concern you raised for the screen, we will play around with it ourselves and consult with MC. If I understand it correctly, you can not detach screens and place it on multiple monitors? Again, we will explore it.

As for the price, MC was always kind enough to provide us with periodic discounts for their software.

As a highly technical person and a tech professional, you have different standards and higher standards that you judge against. However, in my experience, retail traders use 10 to 20% max out of the features of any platform, and MC could be exactly what they need.

Typically people are drawn and flock to popular user groups, and sadly guys like MotiveWave at times do not get explored enough despite their qualities. All boils down to aggressive marketing. To my credit, I did try to help, but all I get is “update our logo”. I am glad that they have someone like you who can point their bugs because a stable platform will get them a long way. This is how Sierrachart got where it is today, a stable platform and order flow display that helps traders. I give them a lot of credit because they grew organically and Anthony their chief programmer tries to make it better and better.

Lastly, as far as your love/hate with NT…Well, each company has to decide whether they have enough resources to be a platform, a broker or could carry the burden of being both. I assure you that being a broker nowadays is hard enough, and I could not imagine also running a software company as well. Although they are competition to us as a broker, I respect all my competitors because it allows me to explore all the other platforms and their strengths. Thanks to you, I know will explore MotiveWave more.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures
www.optimusfutures.com


#3

All great points @Mod-MattZ

Just to be fair on my part, MC looks as good or better than most platforms out there. But as you have heard me say, it is a low bar across the board.

I do like the way that MC “captures” all window assets in the monitor. This makes it easier to manage screen real estate. Unlike NInja which has no concept of docked windows or workspace container (even though they refer to it as a workspace). Window assets scattered everywhere. NT has gotten too big for their britches and have a very apathetic, take-it-or-leave-it approach to every part of their business. Not the kind of people I want to spend my money with.

To be clear about the MC multi-monitor issue I reported; there is no problem running in multiple monitors, the problem is that in order to do this, you need to create a separate “workspace” (I think that was their term) for each monitor. When starting up the MC app, it will open each “workspace” as they were configured in each monitor. The problem with the approach is that each workspace is a separate application process. Separate CPU time, RAM, etc. If you look in Task Manager on Windows, you will see each process rather than all of them as a subprocess of the main process. There are efficiencies offered to a subprocess of a master process with shared memory, etc. Resources are valuable, so IMO, a big problem if you are unnecessarily wasting them in this way.


#4

Thank you for being very specific. Point well taken and will be addressed with MC.

Matt Z
Optimus Futures
www.optimusfutures.com


#5

Hi @RandyT,

In response to your question regarding CPU usage while using multiple workspaces on Multicharts:

We’ve reached out to Multicharts support. You can find their response below:

MultiCharts is efficiently using your CPU cores wherever that is technically possible.
The studies calculations are multi-threaded - all studies from each chart are calculated in an individual thread, utilizing your multi core CPU. Auto trading for each chart is also handled by a separate thread in a different process.

Multi-core CPU affects the optimization speed, as this calculation is divided into multiple flows that run in parallel. But each MultiCharts main window is running in a single thread. All visualization of one main MultiCharts window (disregard the number of workspaces/charts/windows in it) is done by a single thread calculated by just one core.

To make the visualization use multiple cores and improve the performance of the platform – you need to run multiple instances of MultiCharts64.exe (multiple instances of the main MC window).

You can place each main window on its own screen and save its settings as a Desktop file:

https://www.multicharts.com/trading-software/index.php/MultiCharts_Work_Area#Understanding_Desktops

If you still think that it has any negative effect on the resource usage – you can detach the windows from each instance of the platform and place them on your screens the way you like it:

https://www.multicharts.com/trading-software/index.php/MultiCharts_Work_Area#Detaching_and_Attaching_Windows

We hope you found this response helpful.

Let us know if you have any further questions on this topic,
Jake
Optimus Futures Support :optimus_logo_no_backroug:


#6

Can I tile windows that are detached within the area of a monitor screen, or are they just a random unmanaged mess like Ninjatrader?


#7

Hi @RandyT,

To my knowledge, windows can be “tiled” or arranged as long as they are contained within a workspace. If you open multiple workspaces or windows as mentioned in the documentation above, you have the possibility of arranging these windows by heading over to Window > Arrange. As you can see, there are quite a few options here in which you can arrange your window. You can also select cascade which will give you that tile effect.

If you decide to detach a window, you can use the Stick Window option which will force that window to always remain on top of the others. Otherwise, it looks like you will have to rearrange windows detached from the main window of the platform manually.

Thanks for your question. I hope this helps,
Jake
Optimus Futures Support :optimus_logo_no_backroug:


#8

So the answer to my question is “no”, since we detaching windows from the workspace in order to avoid creating separate system processes per monitor.

Thank you