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What is the direction of Backtrader

  • Hi (or other BT guys)

    I am a trader looking to code some ideas of mine with a view to running automatically. I'm tired of retail backtesting software (eg Ninja, Tradestation etc) and am experimenting with Python platforms.

    I've tried Quantopean and now trying out QuantConnect (C# & Python).
    Although the documentation is poor currently, they say they are now focusing on it.. apart from documentation their community and and their speedy replies to forum messages is exceptional. They have several people working on code and I feel comfortable QC is likely to stay around for some time.

    I really like what I've seen with Backtrader, the build in graphics is helpful (eg can see trades made on chart), and bonus is doesn't need .NET framework. Though my concerns are that community doesn't yet seem as strong (as say Quantopean or QuantConnect) and looking at Github there is only one main developer, Mementum. If I invest my time and effort learning BT, what if Mementum moves on to another project.. or gets married and change career.. etc. Are there other developers who can step in and maintain code? Fear is platform would fade out and I'd need to start from scratch. Also how are you guys able to make money to support the hard work you do? Just wondering where you see Backtrader in the next 2-3 years and what plans are (e.g. you mention BT in 6 quant firms already, great start). Thank-you very much

    Kind Regards

  • administrators

    Unfortunately apples and pears are being compared here. Quantopian and Quantconnect are companies offering a service and expecting to make a profit.

    If the platforms (source code + on-line backtesting for example) they offer are "gratis", it it because the business plan behind the companies has it as an expense which will be compensated by other means. In the case of Quantopian it is well known they rely on finding good algorithms which will attract money to be managed. The fees behind the fund management is obviously part of the income they make (if you look at the job offers, you will see they also work directly in developing for institutional customers)

    With regards to that, you get (commercial) support from those companies because they have to spend some money to make money (or at least fue the expectation that they will be bought by someone else who sees value in the company)

    backtrader on the other hand is not a company, because it is just an open source initiative. You cannot expect anything from the aforementioned things.

    @Richard-O'Regan said in What is the direction of Backtrader:

    Though my concerns are that community doesn't yet seem as strong (as say Quantopean or QuantConnect)

    It's called company support and networking effect. Quantopian has many users and tends to attract more new users with the promise that anyone can become a fund manager. QuantConnect tries to play in the same league.

    @Richard-O'Regan said in What is the direction of Backtrader:

    Just wondering where you see Backtrader in the next 2-3 years and what plans are

    There is no expectation as to where backtrader will be in 2-3 years time. There is no money being made and no money being spent. Ideas: plenty. Actual plans: none.

    e.g. you mention BT in 6 quant firms already, great start

    And 2 big banks (at least). Actually it is known that it is being used in some additional companies, including companies working in energy markets. But updating that detail in the home page is for sure not a priority.

    The fact that it is being used doesn't mean it is producing any money.

  • Hi

    I would like to tell you my opinion about your considerstions since i had the same questions a few weeks ago and my decision went against zipline, quantconnect and others for backtrader.

    After understanding the basics it was very easy to get it working and the use of data is really great in backtrader.

    This is very subjective but backtrader seems for me very logical, flexibel, extendible and easy to start with. Easier than other compareable solutions.

    At the end i will be mostly work with strategies, indicators, data, optimization and trades. All this is working in backtrader. The code of backtrader is nice, the way it is working is very logical and it is easy to adjust it for your needs.

    So maybe try to look for your needs and compare them with the available solutions.

    For the long term thinking, its not said, the companies will follow the same path, they are going at the moment so it was more important for me to get the software that fits more the needs at the moment. Also it is not that complicated to rewrite your strategies from backtrader to others, if it would be needed.

  • Backtrader and Dasch, thank-you very much for your detailed replies.

    Thank-you Backtrader for your detailed explanation answering my questions. Appreciate you explaining the 'apples and pears' differences.

    And Dasch, I found your comments and perspective very helpful as we are in a similar situation. Excellent. Much appreciated mate.

    Ok, I'm finishing off some code tests on Quantconnect then I will download Backtrader and try some code on that and see which platform best suits my needs as you suggested Dasch.

    (Backtrader, hopefully if some more firms use your platform and do well, they may pay you to add more features to improve! Also you mention not a priority to update the Banks who use your code - actually I disagree, I think if you did spend a few minutes to update and if possible get permission to use their name + have a link to their site, it would add much credibility and actually encourage more people like me to sign up and help build a stronger community. Bragg about your successes - (right or wrong it worked for the American president !: )

    Thanks again guys

  • administrators

    There have been suggestions on how to monetize backtrader, for example:

    • Professional services
    • Access to specific feature packages for example on a subscription services
    • On-line backtesting service (ala Quantopian for example) but targeted towards businesses which want to run it in-house

    But at the end of day it would seem the market for such things is rather limited

  • administrators

    Someone even lists backtrader now:


  • @backtrader My name is Cole and I'm from Zulu Quant. Is there a way I can contact you via email? I'd like to speak with you about the wonderful backtrader community. Thanks!

  • administrators

    The same e-mail that sent you the confirmation e-mail for the registration: the community itself (apparently wonderful)

  • @backtrader Do you currently offer any coding services by any chance? There might be a market for that. I definitely would be interested in helping me coding a strategy.

  • administrators

    Not directly and not now. There is a project being considered to set the direction of backtrader. Being considered in the next days.

  • I can confirm that backtrader is by far the best option compared to zipline, and quantconnect. The zipline code is a mess, they implemented it, then decided to create a new library to implement basic statistics which they got wrong then created a new library to implement the risk metrics. It is inefficient and Quantopian holds back enough code to just make zipline unusable.

    Quantconnect has a better architecture but it also has a lot of old legacy code.

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