Testing your bots inside the Option Alpha autotrading platform is a great way to understand how your bot works, diagnose potential issues, and ensure that automations function correctly and how you intended. It is a good idea to test your bots in a paper trading account before using live capital. We strongly recommend that you continuously test all facets of a bot so that you feel confident your trading strategies are executed properly.
Creating a test bot
To test the functionality of a bot and its automations, create a new bot in the platform. Make sure the bot is set to a paper trading account.
As with any bot, you can customize the global settings for capital allocation and position limits by selecting the bot dashboard’s gear icon.
It may be proactive to set higher than normal limits to test different parameters inside your bot.
The bot will have no positions or log activity when created. The first thing you want to do is add scanner and monitor automations and begin to build out your test bot.
REMEMBER: Bots are turned off by default. To turn the bot on, toggle the “On/Off” switch to on. The automations will run on your selected schedule.
Events are a great way to test bots. If you want to run automations immediately (which may be useful when testing bots, so you don’t have to wait for the next scheduled run time), you can use an Event automation. Bot events are automations that are triggered on a schedule or when something occurs inside the bot.
You can run an event immediately by selecting the “Now” button, which instantly triggers an automation.
Choose an automation from your list, assign a ticker, select “Start,” and the bot will run immediately and out of its typical sequence.
The “Log” tab will display the bot’s automations, their last run time, and the number of actions completed.
Selecting an automation displays the action and decision details of the event. This is where you can test the individual decision criteria, make sure the bot is making the decisions you want, and check if the bot has encountered any errors.
You can select individual fields to view the variables and outcomes considered in the decision-making process.
If an automation results in a new open position, you can select the automation in the log and view why the trade was executed and the entry details. Again, you want to check the logic and make sure the bot is behaving as you intended.
New positions are immediately listed in the Position statement.
Once a position has been opened (either with an event or through a scanner automation), it is recommended that you test the bot monitor automations to ensure they manage positions appropriately and proceed through the decisions with the logic you intend.
You may want to deliberately open specific types of positions (i.e. a credit call spread) to test certain monitors. This is not recommended for a live account, but it is a good idea to test all of your monitor automations for different strategies.
To force open a position immediately, select “Open Position” from the Positions tab.
You can open a brand new position manually and choose a strategy type to monitor.
If you open a position manually with the button or through an event, the position will be active inside the bot, even if the bot is turned off. You can manually exit the position if the bot is off as well. However, you must turn the bot on to activate monitor automations for automated position management.
For example, if you have a credit call spread monitor, you could open a credit call spread and allow the monitor to manage the position. You can select the monitor automation to observe the decision criteria.
You may also deliberately open a different type of position to test if the monitor automaton is managing correct positions only. If the bot runs correctly, the monitor should only run on compatible positions. For example, the Call Spread Manager monitor automation only ran on the one credit call spread positions, despite the bot having four open positions.
You can also use Buttons inside the Events automations to open and close positions with the click of a button.
Buttons run automations inside the bot. You can choose the ticker the automation will run on, name your button, and create a brief description.
From the bot homepage, you can now run the assigned automation instantly when you select the button.
REMEMBER: The bot must be turned on for the button to work.
Check the Log to make sure that the Button worked.
You can manually exit a position instantly if you need to create space in your portfolio to test more automations in the bot. Simply choose the position you want to close from the Position statement and select “Close Position” from the top right corner of the page.