How to Convert your Expert Advisor to cTrader
Introduction to Converting MetaTrader 4 Expert Advisors
If you already have an MT4 Expert Advisor coded in MQL4 for MetaTrader 4, you might wonder; why should you convert it to another trading platform, such as cTrader. There are a number of reasons why traders want to migrate to different trading platforms. In this guide we will cover;
- Why traders want to convert their MT4 EA to cTrader
- The difference between an Expert Advisor and a cBot
- Methods for converting Expert Advisors to cTrader
- How the cTrader community can help to convert your forex EA to cTrader
- An overview of consultants who can help covert your MT4 EA
Moving on from MetaTrader 4
Typical motivations to switch trading platforms are when a broker or trading platform no longer meets your needs. Currently, there are a few hot reasons why traders want to ditch MT4. MetaTrader 4 no longer offers updates, the platform is incompatible with the latest version of macOS and the alternatives are getting better and better. Most recently, cTrader has seen a series of major updates which improve automated trading capabilities. There are a few reasonable motivations for moving away from MetaTrader 4 and converting your forex EA to a cTrader cBot.
Before going forward, we will quickly decode some jargon. An EA is an acronym for Expert Advisor. Expert Advisor is the name given by MetaQuotes to the automated trading robots that are developed in MQL4 to run in the MetaTrader 4 platform. Because of the huge popularity of MetaTrader, the term became very popular with forex traders. The term is commonly abbreviated to EA and is also used for MetaTrader 5 automated trading robots built with MQL5. The term EA is often used in the context of other platforms too. A cBot is an abbreviation of cTrader Robot, however, traders often use the term EA or Expert Advisors as a general phrase for automated trading strategies, regardless of the underlying platform.
Expert Advisor vs a cTrader Bot
cTrader and MetaTrader 4 are fundamentally very different forex trading platforms. cTrader has its own API known as the cTrader Automate API. cTrader bots are created using c#, which is a popular software development language created by Microsoft. Expert Advisors built for MT4 are built using MQL4, which stands for MetaQuotes Language 4. MQL4 is a proprietary language developed by MetaQuotes. It’s said to be similar to C++ but the fact remains, it’s still a proprietary language. MQL5 is also a different proprietary language, which means there is no compatibility between MT5 and MT4.
The key difference between an Expert Advisor and a cBot is the language used to program them and the platform they were designed to run on. They are both automated trading scripts.
How to Convert an Expert Advisor into a cBot
In this guide, we will explore a few options to get you started with converting your MT4 EA to cTrader;
- Use an online conversion tool
- Find and hire a freelancer online
- Hire a specialist development company
- Learn to code in C# and rebuild your EA for cTrader
Convert your MT4 EA to cTrader Online
There is an online tool called 2calgo.com. While the developer of this tool remains anonymous, they have deposited the source code for this conversion tool to GitHub for anyone to take over the project and develop it further. According to a remark on the site, there is only an 84 per cent success rate for MQ4 indicators and 82% of MQ4 robots.
While this MQL4 to cTrader conversion tool is useful, it wouldn’t be wise to completely rely on it. Simply copying and pasting your EA code into the translator, convert it into a cBot script is not sufficient. The translations results are not reliable enough to simply paste it into cTrader Automate and run with it. The results should be checked carefully and thoroughly to be certain that you got exactly what you expected. Most importantly you need to be sure there aren’t any bugs that could end up destroying your trading account. Relying on this method is not recommended as a stand-alone solution. The 2calgo tool is useful for learning, experimenting or assisting with development.
Hire a Specialist cTrader Developer
One of the most effective methods to convert your EA to a cBot is to hire a specialist to do the job. You might think you can just pick up any freelancing developer who knows C# and C++, but you would be greatly mistaken. The developer should know MQL4, which as we mentioned earlier, is a native language of MetaTrader 4.
The developer should understand the trading functions from the Expert Advisor to be able to locate them in the cTrader Automate API library. And finally the developer you have chosen to work with needs to write the cBot script in C#. Instead of finding a freelancer on a generic freelancing website like Fiverr or Upwork, you could post your requirements on the cTrader jobs board and get a quotation from one of the developers who are active in the cTrader community.
One problem with this method is that anyone can bid on your job listing. It might be hard to check and verify their experience if they are a private individual. As an alternative solution, you can check our cTrader developers page for a list of firms specialized in a range of trading platforms.
As well as the jobs board, the cTrader website has a list of verified consultants. These consultants have in some way, been approved by Spotware and are promoted on the site. Not only can these developers convert your EA to cTrader, but they can also automate any trading system you want.
One of the most prominent developers in the cTrader community is ClickAlgo. Not only can they develop custom trading robots for cTrader and covert your MT4 EA to cTrader, but they also have a number of packaged cBots and indicators available for purchase. The great thing about getting a ready-made cBot is that they are more affordable than getting one built especially for you. But they are a one size fits all approach and might not do exactly what you need them to do. We recommend checking out the ClickAlgo e-shop for some inspiration.
Emet Trading Solutions
Emet Trading Solutions is a specialist in building customised automated trading systems. This firm is experienced in coding for several trading platforms, notably MT4, MT5, NinjaTrader and cTrader. The company maintains a team of developers who are very familiar with Forex, CFD, Futures and Stock trading. These qualifications definitely highlight that Emet is well suited for converting MT4 EAs to cTrader.
Rebuild your EA for cTrader
Perhaps it’s time to roll up your sleeves and learn how to build your own cBots on cTrader Automate. If you have already taught yourself MQL4, then you will definitely be able to work with C# and the cTrader Automate API. Considering the significant advantages the cTrader platform can offer, it’s a skill you should consider investing some time into. Many say that C# is a far easier language than MQL4 or MQL5. Knowing C# can be transferred to other practical uses too since it’s a programming languages used by millions of developers around the world. Don’t forget, if you ever get stuck you can seek the support from the cTrader community, or reach out to one of the specialists listed on our cTrader developers directory or mentioned in this guide.