MetaTrader 4 and Automated Trading
The MT4 platform supports automated trading, or system trading. Automated trading involves developing an objective set of rules for trade entries and exits, and programming the rules in the platform’s proprietary language (MQL4 in this case) so that the platform can handle all of the associated analytical and trading processes. Perhaps the biggest advantage of automated trading is the ability to remove some of the emotion from trading. Since these systems can trade completely mechanically based on the predetermined rules of a trading plan, dealing with losses or second-guessing a trade entry will not affect system performance. Another significant advantage to trade automation is that the trades are automatically executed with extremely fast reaction times.
An automated trading system must clearly identify buy, sell, stop-loss and profit-target rules. In other words, the system must identify the conditions under which a trade will be initiated (whether a long or a short trade), when the trade should be closed at a loss, and when the trade should be closed at a profit.
The various benefits of automated trading make it a helpful tool for traders, but it is important to remember that certain aspects of automation can fail. For example, if the connection to the Internet or data server is lost, the trader must recognize the error and manually fix the problem. If left unnoticed, a position could unintentionally be left naked in the market (without stop-loss or take profit orders).
MetaEditor is MT4’s interface used for creating, editing and compiling program source codes written in MetaQuotes Language 4 (MQL4), MT4’s proprietary programming language. An Expert Advisors Wizard is a built-in feature of the MetaEditor that assists in the creation of new MQL4 programs. Once a program has been written, it must be compiled in MetaEditor. After successful compiling, the executable program code can be launched and/or tested in the MT4 Terminal. Traders can create several distinct programs using the MetaEditor:
- Expert Advisors – programs in the terminal that have been developed in MQL4 and used for the automation of analytical and trading processes. Some platforms refer to these as strategies.
- Custom Indicators – programs developed in MQL4 by the user to function as a technical indicator. Custom indicators are intended for analyzing price activity but not for trading itself.
- Scripts – programs written in MQL4 and intended to perform a single execution of some action. A script can fulfill both analytical and trading functions. Once a script has completed its function once, it automatically stops.
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