After spending the better part of an year in development, three weeks and five iterations in closed beta, Tick Data Suite v2 is finally ready for public beta testing.

It’s important to note that TDS2 is not just an update, it’s more like a sequel – think of it like a movie: The Godfather 2 is not exactly an update to The Godfather. TDS2 has been rewritten from scratch and it’s implemented in a way that is completely different from the way TDS 1.x operates. The aim of the rewrite was to streamline the whole tick data backtesting process so that it doesn’t require a bachelor degree in computer science and TB-sized data storage to get it done. The new version is free for all TDS 1.x customers with an active support plan while users with an expired support plan can purchase the $29 update package to get their license valid for TDS2 – if that’s your situation, head to the support section and open a ticket, I will provide the purchase link. It’s worth mentioning that Tick Data Suite v2 even works with trial licenses.

To give you a brief idea, if you’ve used TDS v1.x before, with TDS2:

  • You no longer need to use a special shortcut to launch MT4.
  • You don’t have to use any CSV files anymore.
  • There are no more tick data FXT files taking huge amounts of space on your disk, files that you would have to move around when backtesting with a different MT4 instance.
  • All your tick data needs are handled by an integrated Tick Data Manager application that lets you import existing data or download data from Dukascopy as well as TrueFX (additional tick data sources will follow).
  • Gone are the delays required for data processing – as soon as the data is downloaded, you can immediately start using it in backtests in all your MT4 installations.

The tick data is now held in a centralized repository using a proprietary ultra-performant compression algorithm that outperforms other available compression formats in both size and speed when it comes to storing financial data. The data is fed to MT4 dynamically during tick data backtests, directly from the compressed format without ever getting written to an FXT file. You can use as many MT4 installations on the same PC as you want; all the tick data is held in the central repository and you need no extra space for the tick data for each MT4 installation, it’s automatically available in all of them. On a modern PC the overhead for feeding the data directly is between 30-60 seconds for a complete 2003-2016 EURUSD backtest using Dukascopy data, which might as well be completely disregarded given how long such a backtest typically takes.

If you’re installing TDS2 for the first time, your starting point should be the Tick Data Manager which is where you will manage all your tick data. You can either download some data to start with or if you already have local data downloaded by Tickstory, SQ Tick Downloader, JForex or the PHP scripts you can use the Settings dialog to import it into the Tick Data Manager. Note that the import process can take a very long time if you have a large amount of data downloaded, so it might be a good idea to only import a few symbols that you need to backtest to begin with and import everything else at a later time.

Once you have some tick data, everything is in place and it’s ready to be used in backtests. To do that, simply start MT4 as you normally would. If you still have any TDS 1.x shortcuts, you don’t need to use them, in fact it’s a good idea to delete them to avoid accidentally using them. TDS2 uninstalls TDS 1.x and any remaining shortcuts will no longer work properly.

In MT4 you will notice that the backtest pane has two new controls: a “Use tick data” checkbox and a “Tick Data Settings” button. Enabling tick data backtesting with TDS2 is as easy as activating the “Use tick data” checkbox and clicking the Start button. The “Tick Data Settings” dialog contains an extensive selection of settings that you can tweak, ranging from variable spread, GMT, DST and slippage to all the small details that affect your backtest such as commission or swaps. If you have doubts about any of the settings, simply hover the mouse cursor over them – the tooltips provide helpful hints to their usage.

Once you start backtesting with tick data, you should keep an eye on your MT4 journal and on the backtesting journal, various messages will get printed there regarding the Tick Data Suite and your backtests. For example, when slippage is activated it is always printed for each trade in the backtest log.

If you encounter any bug, strange occurrence or if you simply have questions please use the integrated Tick Data Suite Support Assistant that can be opened from your Start menu, from the MT4 Help menu or from the Tick Data Manager menu – it will allow you to directly open a ticket and it will even attach the logs for you if needed. You can also browse the knowledge base, it could be that your issue is already addressed there.

I hope you enjoy the new way to run tick data backtests and I have to say it’s only going to get better from here: a lot of new exciting features are planned for Tick Data Suite v2 so stay tuned!

To download TDS2, head to the Tick Data Downloads page.