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Be it backtesting or trading, being able to analyze the performance of the trading system is key to understanding if not only profit has been attained, but also if it has been achieved with too much risk or if it was really worth the effort when compared with a reference asset (or a risk-free asset)

That’s where the family of Analyzer objects comes in: provide an analysis of what’s happened or even of what’s actually happening.

Nature of analyzers

The interface is modeled after that of Lines objects, feature for example a next method but there is a major difference:

  • Analyzers do not hold lines.

    That means they are not expensive in terms of memory because even after having analyzed thousands of price bars they may still simply hold a single result in memory.

Location in the ecosystem

Analyzer objects are (like strategies, observers and datas) added to the system through a cerebro instance:

  • addanalyzer(ancls, *args, **kwargs)

But when it comes to operation during the following will happen for each strategy present in the system

  • ancls will be instantiated with *args and **kwargs during a

  • The ancls instance will be attached to the strategy

That means:

  • If the backtesting run contains for example 3 strategies then 3 instances of ancls will be created and each of them will be attached to a different strategy.

Bottomline: an analyzer analyzes the performance of a single strategy and not the performance of an entires system

Additional Location

Some Analyzer objects may actually use other analyzers to complete its work. For example: SharpeRatio uses the output of TimeReturn for the calculations.

These sub-analyzers or slave-analyzers will also be inserted into the same strategy as the one creating them. But they are completely invisible to the user.


To carry out the intended work, Analyzer objects are provided with some default attributes which are automagically passed and set in the instance for ease of use:

  • self.strategy: reference to the strategy subclass in which the analyzer object is operating. Anything accessible by the strategy can also be accessd by the analyzer

  • self.datas[x]: the array of data feeds present in the strategy. Although this could be accesed over the strategy reference, the shortcut makes work more comfortable.

  • shortcut to self.datas[0] for extra comfort.

  • self.dataX: shortcuts to the different self.datas[x]

Some other aliases are available although they are probably an overkill:

* `self.dataX_Y` where X is a reference to `self.datas[X]` and `Y`
  refers to the line, finally pointing to: `self.datas[X].lines[Y]`

If the line has a name, the following is also available:

* `self.dataX_Name` which resolves to `self.datas[X].Name` returning
  the line by name rather than by index

For the first data, the last two shortcuts are available without the initial X numeric reference. For example:

* `self.data_2` refers to `self.datas[0].lines[2]`


* `self.data_close` refers to `self.datas[0].close`

Returning the analysis

The Analyzer base class creates a self.rets (of type collections.OrderedDict) member attribute to return the analysis. This is done in the method create_analysis which can be overriden by subclasses if creating custom analyzers.

Modus operandi

Although Analyzer objects are not Lines objects and therefore do not iterate over lines, they have been designed to follow the same operation pattern.

  1. Instantiated before the system is put into motion (therefore calling __init__)

  2. Signaled the begin of operations with start

  3. prenext / nextstart / next will be invoked following the calculated minimum period of the strategy the indicator is working in.

    The default behaviour of prenext and nextstart is to invoke next, because an analyzer may be analyzing from the very first moment the system is alive.

    It may be customary to call len(self) in Lines objects to check the actual amount of bars. This also works in Analyzers by returning the value for self.strategy

  4. Orders and trades will be notified just like they are to the strategy via notify_order and notify_trade

  5. Cash and value will also be notified like it is done with the strategy over the notify_cashvalue method

  6. Cash, value and fundvalue and fund shares will also be notified like it is done with the strategy over the notify_fund method

  7. stop will be invoked to signal the end of operations

Once the regular operations cycle has been completed, the analyzers featuring additional methods for extracting/outputting information

  • get_analysis: which ideally (not enforced) returnes a dict -like object containing the analysis results.

  • print uses a standard backtrader.WriterFile (unless overriden) to write the analysis result from get_analysis.

  • pprint (pretty print) uses the Python pprint module to print the get_analysis resutls.

And finally:

  • get_analysis creates a member attribute self.ret (of type collections.OrderedDict) to which analyzers write the analysis results.

    Subclasses of Analyzer can override this method to change this behavior

Analyzer Patterns

Development of Analyzer objects in the backtrader platform have revealed 2 different usage patterns for the generation of the analysis:

  1. During execution by gathering information in the notify_xxx and next methods, and generating the current information of the analysis in next

    The TradeAnalyzer, for example, uses just the notify_trade method to generate the statistics.

  2. Gather (or not) the information as above, but generate the analysis in a single pass during the stop method

    The SQN (System Quality Number) gathers trade information during notify_trade but generates the statistic during the stop method

A quick example

As easy as it can be:

from __future__ import (absolute_import, division, print_function,

import datetime

import backtrader as bt
import backtrader.analyzers as btanalyzers
import backtrader.feeds as btfeeds
import backtrader.strategies as btstrats

cerebro = bt.Cerebro()

# data
dataname = '../datas/sample/2005-2006-day-001.txt'
data = btfeeds.BacktraderCSVData(dataname=dataname)


# strategy

# Analyzer
cerebro.addanalyzer(btanalyzers.SharpeRatio, _name='mysharpe')

thestrats =
thestrat = thestrats[0]

print('Sharpe Ratio:', thestrat.analyzers.mysharpe.get_analysis())

Executing it (having stored it in

$ ./
Sharpe Ratio: {'sharperatio': 11.647332609673256}

There is no plotting, because the SharpeRatio is a single value at the end of the calculation.

Forensic Analysis of an Analyzer

Let’s repeat that Analyzers are not Lines objects, but to seamlessly integrate them into the backtrader ecosystem, the internal API conventions of several Lines object are followed (actually a mixture of them)


The code for the SharpeRatio has evolved to take for example into account annualization and the version here should only be a reference.

Please check the Analyzers Reference

There is additionally a SharpeRatio_A which provides the value directly in annualized form regardless of the sought timeframe

Code for SharpeRatio to serve as a basis (a simplified version)

from __future__ import (absolute_import, division, print_function,

import operator

from backtrader.utils.py3 import map
from backtrader import Analyzer, TimeFrame
from backtrader.mathsupport import average, standarddev
from backtrader.analyzers import AnnualReturn

class SharpeRatio(Analyzer):
    params = (('timeframe', TimeFrame.Years), ('riskfreerate', 0.01),)

    def __init__(self):
        super(SharpeRatio, self).__init__()
        self.anret = AnnualReturn()

    def start(self):
        # Not needed ... but could be used

    def next(self):
        # Not needed ... but could be used

    def stop(self):
        retfree = [self.p.riskfreerate] * len(self.anret.rets)
        retavg = average(list(map(operator.sub, self.anret.rets, retfree)))
        retdev = standarddev(self.anret.rets)

        self.ratio = retavg / retdev

    def get_analysis(self):
        return dict(sharperatio=self.ratio)

The code can be broken down into:

  • params declaration

    Although the declared ones are not used (meant as an example), Analyzers like most other objects in backtrader support parameters

  • __init__ method

    Just like Strategies declare Indicators in __init__, the same do analyzers with support objects.

    In this case: the SharpeRatio is calculated using Annual Returns. The calculation will be automatic and will be available to SharpeRatio for its own calculations.


    The actual implementation of SharpeRatio uses the more generic and later developed TimeReturn analyzer

  • next method

    SharpeRatio doesn’t need it, but this method will be called after each invocation of the parent strategy next

  • start method

    Called right before the backtesting starts. Can be used for extra initialization tasks. Sharperatio doesn’t need it

  • stop method

    Called right after the backtesting ends. Like SharpeRatio does, it can be used to finish/make the calculation

  • get_analysis method (returns a dictionary)

    Access for external callers to the produced analysis

    Returns: a dictionary with the analysis.


class backtrader.Analyzer()

Analyzer base class. All analyzers are subclass of this one

An Analyzer instance operates in the frame of a strategy and provides an analysis for that strategy.

Automagically set member attributes:

  • self.strategy (giving access to the strategy and anything accessible from it)

  • self.datas[x] giving access to the array of data feeds present in the the system, which could also be accessed via the strategy reference

  •, giving access to self.datas[0]

  • self.dataX -> self.datas[X]

  • self.dataX_Y -> self.datas[X].lines[Y]

  • self.dataX_name -> self.datas[X].name

  • self.data_name -> self.datas[0].name

  • self.data_Y -> self.datas[0].lines[Y]

This is not a Lines object, but the methods and operation follow the same design

  • __init__ during instantiation and initial setup

  • start / stop to signal the begin and end of operations

  • prenext / nextstart / next family of methods that follow the calls made to the same methods in the strategy

  • notify_trade / notify_order / notify_cashvalue / notify_fund which receive the same notifications as the equivalent methods of the strategy

The mode of operation is open and no pattern is preferred. As such the analysis can be generated with the next calls, at the end of operations during stop and even with a single method like notify_trade

The important thing is to override get_analysis to return a dict-like object containing the results of the analysis (the actual format is implementation dependent)


Invoked to indicate the start of operations, giving the analyzer time to setup up needed things


Invoked to indicate the end of operations, giving the analyzer time to shut down needed things


Invoked for each prenext invocation of the strategy, until the minimum period of the strategy has been reached

The default behavior for an analyzer is to invoke next


Invoked exactly once for the nextstart invocation of the strategy, when the minimum period has been first reached


Invoked for each next invocation of the strategy, once the minum preiod of the strategy has been reached

notify_cashvalue(cash, value)

Receives the cash/value notification before each next cycle

notify_fund(cash, value, fundvalue, shares)

Receives the current cash, value, fundvalue and fund shares


Receives order notifications before each next cycle


Receives trade notifications before each next cycle


Returns a dict-like object with the results of the analysis

The keys and format of analysis results in the dictionary is implementation dependent.

It is not even enforced that the result is a dict-like object, just the convention

The default implementation returns the default OrderedDict rets created by the default create_analysis method


Meant to be overriden by subclasses. Gives a chance to create the structures that hold the analysis.

The default behaviour is to create a OrderedDict named rets

print(*args, **kwargs)

Prints the results returned by get_analysis via a standard Writerfile object, which defaults to writing things to standard output

pprint(*args, **kwargs)

Prints the results returned by get_analysis using the pretty print Python module (pprint)


Support for invoking len on analyzers by actually returning the current length of the strategy the analyzer operates on