IB Frontends


Established member
Hi all,

Does anyone use a frontend for IB successfully? I've looked at Bracket Trader, NinjaTrader, Button Trader, Futures Trader and TSim+.

None of them seem particularly good, they either crash midway through a trade leaving you to panic and correct manually in TWS, don't do what they are supposed to or are just too simplistic as to be pointless.

I'm looking for a system that can:

1. Set a negative limit offset for a stop-limit order.
2. Chase limit orders.
3. Handle trailing stops.
4. Reverse the trade at a stop/target.
5. Control positions in more than one future.

NinjaTrader and Bracket Trader seem the most appropriate but they don't seem to be able to stay alive for a whole trade!

Anyone have any good news?
Why not just learn to use TWS better ? I have found it to provide everything I need in a trading platform.

Sid -

I have had the same problems as you with ninja - I ended up writing to Raymond Deux (author) and he has made me a beta tester for ninja V3 which I have used for the past few trades - like you, I found the version currently available would fall over halfway through trades, sometimes wouldnt start properly, needed re-installing etc...

However, I'm pleased to report that so far V3 has none of these glitches and has run faultlessly so far. I cant stand TWS so I do prefer to use a front end... Raymond tells me that this new version will be released in January, but it may be the case that you could also beta test it until such time as its released.

Given my past experience with Tsim, Autotrader, Brackettrader etc, I would so far recommend this new, upcoming version of ninja as the definative frontend.

I'm quite happy to use TWS, I was just looking for something that would automate some of the tasks for me.

You can't set a negative offset for stop-limit order in TWS. Say you have a buy stop-limit at 1050 on the ES. With TWS once the stop is hit you'll get filled at 1050 at best. I'd like to try to hit the bid if the stop is hit and have a chance of getting 1049.75 with an auto chase if the limit isn't dealt at that level. I'm just not quick enough to do that manually!

Another example, your long and you have a stop at 1045. With TWS you'll be stopped out as soon as the last price is 1045. If only a couple of deals go through at 1045 then the market zooms off without you your stuffed. Wouldn't it be better to be watching the 1045 level and only execute the stop if the bid size was below the ask size, ie there is real selling pressure at that level and a high probability of ticking lower.

Of course you could try and do this manually but it would much nicer for a frontend to be constantly watching and controlling it for you. As they say at Tesco, every little helps!

I'm glad I'm not alone with NinjaTrader falling over in the middle of a trade. I really like it (especially the 'cha ching' when your stop moves!) and it more or less does everything I want but if I can't trust it then it's no good!

It's good to hear that V3 is more stable. I'm only on a free trial at the moment but hopefully he'll let me look at V3 before committing!

Are there any other changes in V3 that you like?

Well, one or two things:

you can now open just a SuperDOM or basic entry window, and there is a "control centre" for managing strats, symbols etc which also shows all open positions and allows management on them all from there should you choose. Also allows you to generate your statistics from it, and generally a bit more user friendly I feel than the last one.

I just use SuperDOM for my entries : clicking below bid/ask on the buy enters a limit order, clicking above bid/ask enters market order - the reverse for sells. Its super easy to move stops and targets, scale in and out...far more stable than the other version imo. Theres also an "always on top" function which I find useful for keeping the SuperDOM window in view when flicking between charts - although the last version may have had that too, I'm not sure ; I got so hacked off with it after it fell over mid trade once too often that I uninstalled it and went back to Tsim v1.03 for a while :cheesy:
nice one, cheers mate.

Tsim+ seems stable enough but doesn't seem to do anything that can't be done with TWS, although it's a bit easier!

I am surprised to hear of your problems with Bracket Trader. I use the latest BracketTrader for trading FTSE futures and it's never gone wrong on me yet. It's one of the few front-ends that handles FTSE correctly (briefly, there is a problem with IB whereby the FTSE price is sometimes divided by 100, which screws up stops & limits etc). The last time I tried them, neither AutoTrader or TSim+ could handle FTSE correctly. I agree also, that TSim+ adds very little extra functionality.

BracketTrader can do most of the things you want but can't handle concurrent trades as far as I know. Perhaps one could run multiple intsances of BracketTrader to get around that?


What you ask can be easily done but your option for bid and ask size on ES is flawed simply because IB do not give realtime sizes.

The figures you see are artifical and are not like a level II screen.

What you ask can be easily done but your option for bid and ask size on ES is flawed simply because IB do not give realtime sizes.

The figures you see are artifical and are not like a level II screen.

Jonny ,
have you got more info about this, a very cruical point. How do we get correct bid/ask sizes?
I use Ninja v3 no problems
With Interactive Brokers you don't full stop. The prices are not real time as they do not transmitt every tick from the Exchange.

Read IBs documentation for more info.


With Bracket Trader you need to make a copy of the directory and then run a second instance from that directory. The problem I have with Bracket Trader is that it seems to eat up all the available memory and prevents other programs working properly. What operating system are you using? I suspect my problem could be that I'm running Win ME.


That's a good point about the sizes being transmitted from IB, your saying it's just not reliable enough to make trading decisions from. It's just a nice idea that in practise won't help much then.

You may be right about Win ME. I'm running WinXP Pro with all latest service packs & patches. Bracket Trader doesn't seem to use much memory at all on my machine and, as I said, has not let me down once. Neither has TSim+ come to that, which I use for US stock trading.

I presume we're talking about the same version? Mine is Bracket Trader 2003 rel 1126 using TWS API 7.3


yes, same versions for BT and API. Looks like the excuse I need to upgrade to XP then!


I have done comparisons across a number of data providers on volume including IB. Without any doubt the volume information from IB has been out by as much as 20 times actual traded volume on both US stocks and futures. It is not always like this but there are times when it is. Price has always been accurate though.

Have saved and opened (and opened directly) brackettrader several times.get 'error reading setup initialization file' I have tsim already installed.I downloaded the latest api from the b.trader link.What am I doing wrong?
Last edited:

You can alter your stop trigger method with IB on Globex. The default is Last i.e. last price, but you can change this to double last, set it to wait until your price is breached.

Doesn't work on stop limit orders though as these are native to the exchange.

Go to "Configure", "Order", "Stop Trigger Method".

There is a choice to " Trigger Outside Regular Trading Hours", be sure to tick this box if you want your stops to be activated between the hours of 9.00pm and 2.30pm UK time.
Thanks fillyerboots for that. I did know that you could do that with simulated stops on IB. To be fair you might as well use that as I don't know how reliable the more sophisticated simulated stops on NinjaTrader would be given the fact that the bid/ask sizes aren't real time.
Tell me how to fix this bracket-trader problem and I may PM you with some trades.