Should I dump ActiveQuant? Should I goto Matlab/Octave or R for my backtests

(Last Updated On: June 30, 2010)

Should I dump ActiveQuant? Should I goto Matlab/Octave or R for my backtests?
After researching and playing with Active Quant, it has become apparent that I have become frustrated with this open source project. There is scant documentation and even if there anything, it spread across two websites. You also need to dig for info either on their sites of ActiveQuant.org, ActiveStocks.eu, or their Nabble list and forum. After a week, I have come to the conclusion the features are there and looks really good in terms of coding. Again, the support is not there from the contributors or any other users within their community. Active Quant still has VERY long road to travel if they are going to gain any traction in the quant world from a professional standpoint.
After digging, I did come across some online videos posted by Active Quant’s main contributor Ulrich but i still cannot get things working as demoed on their video. It can be seen at:
As you can imagine, this is not heavily promoted. There are three videos but the main one shows how to download the Active Quant P2 environment and build with Maven. I tried to replicate it but still got all kinds of errors. As a result, Active Quant’s efforts become a huge waste of my time. Not only that, but it makes me either feel useless at what I can do within Java or there is a major disconnect.
Now this brings me to the conclusion of where Active Quant measures in the world of Quant. After do searches for it on the top Quant based forums of Wilmott and QuantNet.com, there are only 2 search results. Wilmott got an extra search result due to Active Quant’s main contributor Ulrich did his own plug. What does that tell me, many people are not talking about this project at all?
There are a few mentions of Marketcetera on these forums but you will find open QuantLib is talked about a lot on both forums. This pretty well tells me the QuantLib is becoming one of the open source standards for Quants. It also appears to be respected by top Quant recruiters like Dominic Connor.
In a nutshell, if the maintainers of ActiveQuant want serious traction in the world of quant, they will need to majorly upgrade both their site and code to get people up and running quickly. Marketcetera is successful with their YouTube channel. QuantLib is successful with a pretty decent and especially their newsletter list. Maybe ActiveQuant should keep their site up to date with their sites? Maybe add better videos and a complete step by step guide to get me started? I don’t have further time to waste on this project. As said, ActiveQuant has not reached any level of respect or appreciation on the top forums. As a result, I may check it out again in a few months. Hopefully, they will add the resources by then so I give it another attempt.

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