NOTE: Any purchase of a NinjaTrader 7 compatible indicator or trading system from Indicator Warehouse (IW) comes with a FREE NinjaTrader 8 version when the IW product is updated.
Humans seem to have the urge to improve things. Prehistoric hand-axes were made by repeatedly chipping small flakes off pebbles of flint with other hard objects. Million-year-old examples of these have been found that give the impression of being ruined by being hacked just one time too many. That pang of regret we have probably all felt after spoiling something by adding that unnecessary final touch was first faced by Ugg in his cave. The thought may be Stone Age but the idea that ‘if it isn’t broke don’t fix it,’ still holds true.
For example, you may have heard about the recent release of NinjaTrader 8. Now, before you get all caught up in the marketing frenzy, let’s review some best practices for working with newly released software, in general. These recommendations apply to any software, whether it’s NinjaTrader 8, Office 2016, of even Windows 10.
The important thing to remember with sophisticated software platforms such as NinjaTrader 8 is NEVER to jump on the first release. Typically, the initial release will have some kinks that need to be worked out. It’s always better to wait for the inevitable “dot” releases that will follow. This statement is no knock against NinjaTrader; it’s just the way it is. This is why we recommend that, for the time being, you download NinjaTrader 7.
Software vendors have a vested interest to get customers on their latest version. Theoretically, bug fixes, better performance, functional enhancements and security updates all minimize support calls, ensure the latest functions are used and will ultimately increase customer satisfaction.
From a purely business point of view, providing software updates is the most efficient method for making sure customers stay locked into a platform and away from the competition.
Many seasoned traders, however, see updates of software as a waste of time, something to be done tomorrow, just too risky. The reality is that software and hardware changes are not going to stop anytime soon.
The trick is to look before you leap and manage the change slowly and safely. If trading is more than just a hobby for you, my guess is you don’t have time for big bang updates – the opportunity cost is just too high and your trading activity just too valuable to risk a bad software experience. So, plan your updates – just like in trading, flying by the seat of your pants will expose you to unforeseen costs and delays and possibly impact your bottom line.
It is critical that you don’t get swayed into “magic bullet” thinking that a new version of your trading platform will make your trading any easier. In the same way that a new version of Microsoft Word does not make a person a better Writer or any makes writing a book any easier.
When thinking about trading software, think of it as a set of tools. These tools might improve your trading efficiency, or a save you more time and give you more return on your efforts. However, successful trading is not built on just tools.
Trading software alone will not make you a better trader. You still have to practice good, valuable habits. Yes, a new trading software can help. Yes, learning something new can be fun. But it’s a drop in the bucket to what makes for a winning trader.
I’m going to explain the different types of risk that updating any software including NinjaTrader 8 could have on your trading business and the likelihood and severity of these risks happening.
The potential risks of any major update are as follows:
Potential loss of service – if software is updated incorrectly it may cause your system to crash or not function properly. This kind of event will make it very hard for you to carry on in your trading activity. The likelihood of this happening with NinjaTrader 8 is very low because we have to assume NinjaTrader 8 has been tested with a variety of hardware and software configurations. However, the severity of this loss of service would be high as this has the potential to delay your trading for a long time if not promptly resolved. To minimize the risk of this happening it would be wise to wait and thoroughly research NinjaTrader 8 before installation. You could also backup your system to restore to the previous version it something does go wrong and ensure that no files are missing.
Loss of income – if you treat your trading as a business and you rely on it for income, having your system go down could translate into a lot of trouble because there will be no way of generating trading income. The likelihood of this happening is low because NinjaTrader 8 comes with extensive documentation and support to make sure it doesn’t crash. However, the severity of this happening is high because you would have to make somehow up for what had been lost. Best practice is to do your updates when the markets are closed. This time of day will give you time for NinjaTrader 8 to be properly tested, and also allow for a system restore if there happens to be a system crash.
Incompatibility issues – Software can have personality clashes just as people can. This situation means that the new NinjaTrader 8 may not play well with old programs and cause your system to crash. New software can also refuse to work with older types of hardware or may cause the device to act oddly. The likelihood of this happening with NinjaTrader 8 is medium because it is very hard to tell which software or hardware will clash with each other until or if it happens. The severity of this happening is also medium because, while not convenient, you can always uninstall the software that might not be compatible with NinjaTrader 8. To minimize incompatibility issues, you should backup your system before you start to install NinjaTrader 8 this means that the files previous to the software update are safe.
Unstable Software – The first release of NinjaTrader 8 is very possibly unstable because it’s new. This is because, even though all effort to the contrary, the odds are high that all the bugs have not been completely found and worked out. This reality may cause your system to crash or have an adverse effect on your current installation. The likelihood of this happening with a professional organization like NinjaTrader is low. However, the severity of this happening is high, because an unstable program is unpredictable and can corrupt files or even delete them. Like the previous issue, I would advise doing a backup before updating to NinjaTrader 8.
You simply may not like it – new is not always better. New software can be challenging if you are already comfortable using older software. You may not like the re-design of NinjaTrader 8 because you are not used to it or it, is too hard to use. The likelihood of this happening is quite high especially if you are using your current version effectively or if you are a person who doesn’t like to adapt to change. The severity of this happening can be lessened by putting in the time to attend NinjaTrader 8 training sessions and thoroughly reading all the documentation on how to use the new changes. To reduce the risk of trading downtime, a backup should be carried out in case the system must be restored to its previous version.
Although learning a new interface is always part of the process of updating software, you can certainly feel as though something has gone terribly wrong if you discover you no longer know how to do simple tasks, or you simply don’t like the new ways of doing things.
Rest assured, as an Indicator Warehouse customer; you are entitled to FREE upgrades for life. However, until we have a solid understanding of what is new in NinjaTrader 8, we won’t fully know what needs re-coding. NinjaTrader will support version 7 for a long time. So, we have plenty of opportunities to get it right with our software updates – the first time!
One of the perks of having been a NinjaTrader partner for so long is that we are very familiar with major platform upgrades. We were around during the upgrade from 6.5 to 7.0 and the major update from with 7.0 to 7.3 – and we plan to be around for much more.
Stay focused… Trade Well… Live Free!