TradingView, MetaTrader 4, and MetaTrader 5 are probably some of the most widely used trading platforms with full algorithmic trading capabilities. Pine Script is the programming language used by TradingView, and it allows advanced functionality. It is relatively simple to use. On the other hand, MetaTrader platforms come with a programming language called MQL5, which is similar to C/C++ and more complicated than Pine Script. So, which one should you learn? After reading this guide, you will be able to select between the two languages and understand which one is more suited for your goals.
MQL5 is a successor to MQL4 developed by MetaQuotes Software and is an advanced programming language. It is used on the MetaTrader platforms. It is capable of 100% automation and offers unparalleled abilities to algorithmic traders. The IDE (integrated development environment) or Meta Editor is built inside the MT4 and does not require separate installation apart from the trading platform. This allows traders to promptly create and deploy trading robots, referred to as Expert Advisors, without requiring API calls or external sources for account information. As a result, MQL5 is a very secure environment from the perspective of integration and private data security. The process of getting started is easy, traders have to install the MetaTrader 4 or MetaTrader 5 and open a trading account. A demo account is sufficient to start using MQL5 at its full capacity. The programming IDE is accessible from the trading platform interface. To automatically open the IDE while running the MT4 or MT5 platform, just press the F4 key.
Despite numerous attempts to modernize, the design of the MQL5 IDE remains outdated. Readers can observe that it lags behind the times. Nevertheless, it is easy to navigate and provides all the necessary functionality for programmers. Meta Editor has all the functions any programmer may ever need within its complex menu.
When it comes to the learning curve, MQL5 is one of the complex languages that requires a deep understanding of programming concepts and is similar to C/C++. As you may have already inferred, learning this language is challenging. It will take at least 6–8 months to get the basics of MQL5 and write a trading robot or custom indicator. This is not a short time for a trader who just needs to transform their strategy into a trading bot. In this regard, MQL5 is much harder to master than TradingView’s Pine Script.
MQL5 has a good community where traders share their robots and help each other with issues during programming. Its community is also one of the oldest, meaning there are thousands of free robots and forum posts available. This can be especially useful for beginners who want to master the language and find answers to their questions easily. However, it doesn’t come close to the TradingView community, which is explicitly focused on cultivating a strong community of traders.
So, what exactly are the main pros and cons of an MQL5 language? Let’s list the main factors.
Despite being a relatively difficult language to learn, there are several advantages related to MQL5 that can not be underestimated.
Despite these advantages, there are certain cons associated with the MQL5:
The Pine Script interface is simple if you learn how to access it in the first place. To access it, simply open a TradingView, then open a super chart for any asset, and you can find Pine Editor at the bottom of the chart. The interface is very intuitive and easy to use. You can type your code and apply it to the chart right away. Another way to access Pine Editor is to visit the link. But you won’t be able to apply the indicator or strategy to the chart directly.
When it comes to the learning curve, Pine Script also requires some extensive learning but is by far easier than the MQL5. No complex variable declaration procedures, as in MQL5, are required. Everything feels intuitive and straightforward. In a sense, Pine Script is similar to Python as it is super simple and intuitive.
TradingView has a larger community than MQL5, as traders and developers can write and share their indicators. The platform allows traders to find other developers’ indicators in the search bar, making it super simple to access a large base of indicators. TradingView is very useful in this regard and intuitive to use. There are thousands of custom indicators available together with the inbuilt ones letting traders use any indicator they like without extensive need to download and install them, unlike MQL5.
As you would already guess, we are going to list the pros and cons of using Pine Script for algorithmic trading.
In the end, both MQL5 and Pine Script offer the ability to automate trading activities and develop custom indicators and EAs. Depending on your programming experience and needs, each of them offers pros and cons.