I'm building a new strategy and there several things that bother me:
Some thoughts regarding your questions.
1. Testing simply doesn't work on weekends because the software can't load charts.
In the past, we have asked the company for a method to save chart data for future use. If they have built this in, they have not explained to me how to use it. It might be very simple to save data, using the "Save chart data" icon at the top of a chart. But the method for making the data available for the Tester, later, is something I don't know how to do.
2. When starting the test, the software lets you choose to start the test from X days ago. It would be much better if you could choose a specific date and time from which the test would be start. For example, you'll insert the start date & time and then the end date & time and the software will do the rest.
This is something that had been asked for in the past. You can program a start and stop date and time into your Strategy. You can even make it to be adjustable by adding "Settings" boxes. But it would be a lot easier for the Trader if they added a method for doing it manually.
3. I'm using Tick intervals and the software can test back to 30 days... is there any way to get more historical data? I would really like to test a year back.
The test data comes from your broker during the week when the market is open. If you broker doesn't carry this data, then you can't get it. But if he DOES carry the data... Older versions of ActTrader had a limit as to how much data they could accept and test. I think it was 1,000 periods. I have not attempted to check the new version to see if the limit is still there.
4. Testing is so (very) slow.... :-)
Yes, the testing is very slow. ActForex has said that they are attempting to address this problem. The problem might lie in the programming language they are using.
One thing you can do to speed up testing is, program the actual math of your indicators right into your Strategy. You can get this info from the Indicators that have been downloaded from ActForex to your computer. After you program this info into your Strategy, delete the reference links to the Indicators. You will be running without the indicators being visible on the chart. But after the run, you can add the indicators manually so that you can view what happened during the run.
The Indicators are found at this location in your computer if you are running XP: C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\GCI\APP#13C3B51D\resource\act_scripts\indicators. Locations may be different for other operating systems like Vista, or Windows 7.
I know. This is a lot of work. but if you have a good Strategy in mind, it may be worth it... until the company gets the speed thing perfected.
5. I understand that when putting the strategy to work, it can only work if the software is running. It would be nice to have the option to use the strategy all the time, even if the computer is off.
There are Traders who have commented in the past that you can use virtual servers to run your Strategy. These are online running systems that are for rent where you can set you whole program up to run full-time. Some of them guarantee almost 100% up-time. Google: "virtual server hosting."
I realize that these answers are incomplete, and I hope that Admin will answer your questions better. But for the moment, this might help a little.