In this article, we will compare MQL5 and Python and talk about what is better.
MQL5 is better than python when it comes to algorithmic trading. There are several reasons for this. The main reason is MQL5 is specifically developed to program algorithmic trading robots for the popular MetaTrader 5 platform. This itself makes MQL5 superior to python.
But, it does not mean that you cannot algorithmic trade with python. Keep reading on how to use MQL5 and python for algorithmic trading.
MQL5 is a programming language that was developed by MetaQuotes for creating algorithmic trading robots and custom indicators for the MetaTrader 5 platform. MQL5 is based on the C++ programming language.
MQL5 is relatively easy to learn and there are a lot of predefined functions that you can use to program faster with MQL5.
MQL5 has good support with the MetaTrader 5 platform and it is also easy to set up and get started with. MQL5 is also the successor of the MQL4 programming language. MQL5 has quite a few improvements over MQL4.
What is Python?
Python is one of the most popular and easy-to-learn programming languages out there. Python is not built specifically for algorithmic trading like how MQL5 was built.
There are good tools for python for connecting to Metatrader 5 platform and creating algorithmic trading robots or custom indicators.
Learning Python can be useful if you are interested in data analytics or web development. Python is the go-to language for data science/ data analytics.
You definitely cannot go wrong with either one, python or MQL5 when it comes to algorithmic trading but from what we will discuss next you might want to learn MQL5 over python for algorithmic trading.
Algorithmic Trading with MQL5vs Python
For this comparison, we will be using the Metatrader 5 platform. Mainly because currently, it is the best trading platform out there for forex trading. Tradingview is a good alternative as well but we personally prefer the MetaTrader 5 platform.
MQL5 is the best programming language for algorithmic trading with Metatrader 5 platform. MQL5 is built in with the MetaTrader 5 platform and there is nothing much to set up. Python is limited when it comes to algorithmic trading with Metatrader 5 platform. But surely you can make it work.
The only reason you should use python for algorithmic trading is if you already have quite a bit of experience programming with python.
If you don’t have any experience with any of these programming languages, we recommend you learn MQL5. You will find it so much easier to the MQL5 than python.
If your goal is to get a job in a hedge fund, both of these languages are great to learn. Also, another reason to learn python over MQL5 is if you are interested in other kinds of software development like web development. Otherwise, stick to MQL5.
Now let’s look at how to set up MQL5 and Python for algorithmic trading. This will show you the difference and how easy it is to use MQL5 over python if you are using the recommended Metatrader 5 platform for trading.
How to Setup MQL5 for Algorithmic Trading
MQL5 comes pre-installed with the MetaTrader 5 trading platform. To get the MQL5 development environment you need to install the MetaTrader 5 platform. You can download the MetaTrader 5 platform directly from the Metaquotes website or from a forex broker.
If you download from a broker you can test your trading robot in the live market. You can download this platform from a good broker like XM Broker. After you download and install the MetaTrader 5 platform, the meta editor (MQL5) development environment will be installed as well.
To open the meta editor development environment go to your MetaTrader 5 platform, and go to tools -> Metaquotes language editor. This is shown below.
After that to create your first expert advisor go to file a new project and follow the setup wizard for the expert advisor. If you are interested in learning how to create your first expert advisor with MQL5 and detailed instruction for setting up the MQL5 development platform check out this guide.
How to Setup Python for Algorithmic Trading
For setting up python for algorithmic trading you will have to download quite a few applications. These are:
Metatrader 5 library
MetaTrader 5 platform
First, install python and the MetaTrader 5 library for python. It is important that you download & install python 3.9 otherwise it is not going to work.
Make sure that you don’t have other versions of python installed. Also, check the box where it says to add python to the environment variable path. Then to install the MetaTrader 5 Library, go to the command line and type “pip install MetaTrader5” (without the quotes).
For coding your algorithmic robot in python you will also be using the meta editor. You can install the MetaTrader 5 platform as discussed in the previous section and open the meta editor coding platform. To write your python script you simply have to choose a new project and then the python script option.
Why learn Python if you code with Mql5?
This is a common question that some traders ask. If you code with MQL5 for algorithmic trading there is no reason to learn python. Only learn python if you want a programming job because there will be more jobs available for a python developer.
This is because python is used for other things as well such as web development and data science/analytics. But if you want to only program algorithmic trading robots then there is no better option than MQL5.
As discussed in this article, MQL5 is superior to python when it comes to algorithmic trading. If you are really into algorithmic trading in the forex market we highly recommend you learn the MQL5 platform. You can also learn python if you are interested in expanding your programming skills. If you are interested in learning more about MQL5 check out this article.