Forex software programs (or Expert Advisors) are scripts written in MQL4. These scripts control the trading functions of an account. They can be set to live or to demo, which the user opts for, and can essentially take care of the trading for the user. Basically what this allows is a user / trader to access his strategy based on historical evidence, and then apply the strategy to the active market. The beauty of the program application to trading is this: it is tireless, and your nerves will not take the beating they most certainly would if you were to apply the strategy manually. On top of that, the program trades strictly based on the strategy. Any long time trader will tell you the most difficult part of trading is not so much defining a strategy, it is sitting on one's hands until the conditions met by the strategy unfold.
The trading climate is chaotic. I have a strategy that trades about forty times per month. That strategy, you would think, would enter the market twice per day. (Forex markets are open 24 hours a day, but closed on the weekends). But what I see time and again is that the trades come in blocks. Certain days have four trades, while certain weeks have one trade. My criteria for entry is strict, and my trades generally are held for 3-4 hours. That said, the market goes through a variety of fluctuations, and forex trading programs can ride out the market variations that do not speak to the trader's knowledge. This is by far the strongest argument for moving away from manual trading and towards a completely automated trading platform. It takes the discipline of a chess master to sit on one's hands through an ENTIRE TRADING session without placing a trade. Because of this I moved toward building my own programs.
When I chose to build programs I had absolutely no experience in programming or coding. None. I started by purchasing a tutorial book. It took almost a year to work itself out. I blew plenty of money and time trying to condition my approach to fit my programming limitations. If I were to do it again I'd buy one of the three programs below.
Here's why: what you'll do by simply observing these simple and sometimes effective trading programs is beginning to understand the limitations of any approach. Technical analysis is not a pure science. You're dealing with something that in many ways can be considered a meta-science. Observation is the keenest form of study when it comes to technical analysis. By breaking down the structure of the program you've purchased, you'll better understand the variety of methods at play. These are three industry standards. Again, do not expect to place 2k into an account, turn the EA on and watch the money grow exponentially. You may make money. You may lose money. But if you're smart, you'll learn valuable lessons day in and day out. Do not bother visiting a million forums to see who's made three billion with what program. Again, all nonsense. Nobody would sell a billion dollar winning program for $ 129. But they will offer you a program that can offer insight.
If you're seriously in the market for one of these, do not spend the rest of your day guessing over which name or campaign seems best. Simply go with your gut if you want to give this a try. Before long you'll have created your own EA. Good luck to you!