Samuel K. Tennis
Program(s) Developed: Converting system developer or individual traders trading programs to automated trading platform.
Interview Date: October, 2019
Interviewed by William Gallwas
Introduction: Samuel K. Tennis is the founder of Vista-Research. Mr. Tennis specializes in converting system developer or individual traders trading programs to automated trading platforms using "EasyLanguage" as well as other programming languages. As one of the leading programmers at Omega Research, where he played a vital role in the development of the popular EasyLanguage program, he is uniquely qualified to provide these programming services. Moreover, he is the author 240 page book entitled "Ask Mr. EasyLanguage" published by TradersPress. Mr. Tennis is not a system developer in order to avoid any conflict-of-interest issues.
William Gallwas: It's exciting and an honor to sit down and interview someone that has seen it all in the industry for coding and programming - as I recall, you were one of the first "demo" clients for TradeStation back in early 1990s when it was "Omega Research". How did that all come about? Can you story tell the early days of the industry when all system developers in the world at that time probably could fit on a football field?
Samuel Tennis: Thank you William! Though I use Samuel K. Tennis professionally I am just Sam. On a football field? I think we could have fit on the pitchers mound of a ball diamond!
I was the Head Programmer for Omega Research and later TradeStation when they changed the company name. I held other titles as well including "Director of Client Training". I was also the tech support department until TradeStation came out. By them we had a significant number of employees and I moved my desk to the Tech Support area so I would be easily and readily available to respond to technical issues the support staff could not answer. Ah, those were the days! I worked there from 1984 until 1994 and then went self employed. Not the wisest move I have ever made since they went public shortly after I left.
Bill Cruz, the owner of Omega Research, was creating and marketing black box trading systems (which I coded on the IBM, Apple and for a short time Commodore 64) and I was writing utilities in house to assist in the development process. We decided to stop marketing the trading systems and write development software instead. Thus System Writer (SW) and System Writer Plus (SWP) were born. They renamed it to TradeStation when we migrated to Windows. SWP was product of the year for several years running so I never understood the logic of giving up the name recognition.
William: TradeStation EasyLangauge still is viewed as a robust reliable language even today. Do you have any insight to the organization? Any changes around the corner that you see?
Sam: TradeStation has added OOEL (Object Oriented EasyLanguage) which brings vast new areas for development for TradeStation customers and the Developers who support them. Object oriented programing is a totally different animal from Classic EasyLanguage. Rather than being a "top down" language and stepping through from the first bar to the last bar of data, OOEL is an event driven environment. I do not have time, nor do I want to bore your readers with an explanation of that, but believe me when I say it is different! I got so focused on EasyLanguage for a decade or three there that catching up with OOEL is a challenge for this old school programmer.
William: When did Visa-Research form and is this your current business today as a consultant?
Sam: When I left TradeStation in May of 1994 Pat Raffalovich and myself formed two corporations "Vista Research and Trading" and "TradeWinds Publishing". Things went smashingly for the first year or three but then Pat ran into troubles and we closed the corporations. I continued on as a DBA under the name "Vista-Research". I still use the name but it is just a name, it is really just me and my three computers. I write EasyLanguage code for clients full time and create add 0on applications for TradeStation clients if they want to purchase them. I am bad at marketing so few people actually know what I have available.
William: What are the key influences in the industry that have shaped the way you think? Any books or other coders that come to mind? Or educators? It's hard to find "real and credible" when searching the internet so we appreciate what you may be able to share.
Sam: One of the most influential traders I have had the great pleasure of learning from, and I ave met so very many of them, is Kent Calhoun. Learning his 5 VBTP (5 Vertical Bar Trading Pattern) changed how I view price charts forever. Unfortunately Kent does not seem to offer seminars any more, a great loss to us all.
I have worked to a greater or lesser degree with many or most of the legends in the industry. Recently I have been working with Jake Bernstein and Chris Moody as the EasyLanguage programmer for their "Jake's Trading Strategies" educational service. I am also a co-host on webinars for them most weeks. Chris is an accomplished trader and a coder on many of the trading platforms and it is a pleasure to work together with him, over screen shares, several days a week.
I also work closely with Murray Ruggiero Jr on both his personal projects and coding some of the the material he markets to his clients. Murray has TradersStudio.com and UsingEasyLanguage.com if anyone is interested.
William: Do you still maintain a yahoo user-group? How can people reading this interview join?
Sam: My "Ask Mr. EasyLanguage" Yahoo! Group is still up and running but it does not get very much attention these days, the TradeStation Forums are doing such a good job answering questions. I post there every week or so with tidbits I write and links to particularly useful topics on the TradeStation forums. I still check it daily on the chance anyone has a question for me. They can join by visiting https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/MrEasyLanguage or by sending me an eMail (email@example.com) message and I will send them an invitation.
William: Is 5G really around the corner or do you believe the cost and health risks will delay this technology? And, what will 5G do to the industry as we know it?
Sam: I really have no knowledge of or opinion on 5g though I am very concerned about the radiation levels we are subjecting our bodies to on a daily basis. It will be some years, I figure, before we discover whether the effect is damaging or not.
I do think that sending so much information wirelessly is a mistake, potentially a grave one, I prefer a wired connection as much as possible so the data is contained rather than flowing to and through my body.
William: Finally, how can people get a hold of you and contact you for their services. And a client asked me to add: Have you ever considered writing a book?
Sam: I can be reached by eMail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by voice or text to (850) 582-7342 and my new address is PO Box 343562 Florida City, Florida 33034
I also send out a weekly email blast "It's the Weekend!" with a few jokes and full of links that I run across as I search the web. I enjoy search engines and find a variety of unusual topics so there is usually something for everyone. I have been doing this off and on for a couple of decades now, taking a break for a while when it gets too feel like work.
Actually, tell your friend that I have written the book "Ask Mr. EasyLanguage" (hence the name of the Yahoo! Group) published by Traders Press which has since gone out of business. There may still be copies for sale on Amazon or EBay, I have not checked and I also have the PDF available. I am currently compiling material for the next edition, greatly expanded, that I hope to get around to self publishing in the future.
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