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Connection of Expert Advisor with ICQ in MQL5

4 June 2010, 14:32
Andrey Voytenko
3 697


ICQ is a centralized service of instant exchange of text messages, with an offline mode, which uses the OSCAR protocol. For a trader, ICQ can serve as a terminal, which displays timely information, as well as a control panel. This article will demonstrate an example of how to implement an ICQ client, with a minimum set of functions, within an Expert Advisor.

The draft of the IcqMod project, containing an open original code, was used and processed as a basis for the article. Protocol of exchange with the ICQ server is implemented in the DLL module icq_mql5.dll. It is written in C++ and makes uses the only Windows library winsock2. A compiled modules and a source code for Visual Studio 2005 are attached to this article.

Distinguishing features and limitations of the implementation of this client:

  • the maximum number of simultaneously working clients is theoretically unlimited.
  • the maximum size of an incoming messages - 150 characters. The reception of longer messages is not supported.
  • Unicode support.
  • supports only a direct connection. Connection made through a proxy server (HTTP / SOCK4 / SOCK5) is not supported.
  • offline messages do not get processed.

Description of the library functions

Descriptions of constants and functions of the dll module are located in the executable file icq_mql5.mqh.

The function ICQConnect is used to connect to the server:

uint  ICQConnect (ICQ_CLIENT & cl,  // Variable for storing data about the connection  
string  host,  // Server name, such as  
ushort  port,  // Server port, eg 5190  
string  login, // Account Number (UIN)  
string  pass   // Account password for)

Description of the return value through ICQConnect:

Constant's Name
0xFFFFFFFF  Connection established
 Reading data error
 Sending data error
 server connection error
 ICQ_CONNECT_STATUS_AUTH_ERROR 0xFFFFFFFB  Authorization error: incorrect password or exceeded the limit of connections


Structure for storing data about the connection:

 struct  ICQ_CLIENT (
uchar  status;     // connection status code  
ushort  sequence;  // sequence meter  
uint  sock;        // socket number  )

 In practice, in order to perform an analysis of the connection status in this structure, we use the variable status, which can assume the following values:

Constant's Name
 ICQ_CLIENT_STATUS_CONNECTED 0x01  A connection to the server is established
0x02  Connection to server failed


Frequent attempts to connect to the server can lead to a temporary block of access to your account. Thus it is necessary to wait out a time interval between connection attempts to the server.

Recommended timeout is 20-30 seconds.

The function ICQClose serves to terminate the connection to the server:

 void  ICQClose (
ICQ_CLIENT & cl  // Variable for storing connection data)

The ICQSendMsg function is used to send text messages:

 uint  ICQSendMsg (
ICQ_CLIENT & cl,  // Variable to store data about the connection.  
string  uin,        // Account number of the recipient  
string  msg         // Message)

The return value equals to 0x01, if the message is sent successful, and equals 0x00 if there was a sending error. 

The ICQReadMsg function checks for incoming messages:

 uint  ICQReadMsg (
ICQ_CLIENT & cl,  // Variable for storing connection data  
string  & Uin,     // Account number of the sender  
string  & Msg,     // Message  
uint  & Len        // Number of received symbols in the message

The return value equals to 0x01 if there is an incoming message and equals to 0x00 if there is no message.

COscarClient class

For the convenience of working with ICQ in an object-oriented environment of MQL5, the COscarClient class was developed. Aside from the basic functions described above, it contains a mechanism, which, after a specific interval of time, automatically reconnects to the server (when autocon = true). Description of the class is included in the attached file icq_mql5.mqh and is given below: 

class COscarClient
  ICQ_CLIENT client;        // storing connection data
          uint connect;     // flag of status connection
      datetime timesave;     // the time of last connection to the server
      datetime time_in;      // the time of last reading of messages

      string uin;            // buffer for the storage of the uin of the sender for a received message
      string msg;            // buffer for the storage of text for a received message
        uint len;            // the number of symbols in the received message
      string login;          // number of the sender's account (UIN)
      string password;       // password for UIN 
      string server;         // name of the server
        uint port;           // network port  
        uint timeout;        // timeout tasks (in seconds) between attempts to reconnect to the server
        bool autocon;        // automatic connection resume
           COscarClient();   // constructor for initialization of variable classes
      bool Connect(void);     // establishment of a connection with a server
      void Disconnect(void);  // breaking a connection with a server
      bool SendMessage(string  UIN, string  msg); // sending a message 
      bool ReadMessage(string &UIN, string &msg, uint &len); // receiving a message

Expert Advisor on the COscarClient bases

The minimum Expert Advisor code needed to work with ICQ using the class COscarClient is located in the icq_demo.mq5 file and below:

#include <icq_mql5.mqh>

COscarClient client;

int OnInit()
   printf("Start ICQ Client");
   client.login      = "641848065";     //<- login
   client.password   = "password";      //<- password
   client.server     = "";
   client.port       = 5190;
void OnDeinit(const int reason)
   printf("Stop ICQ Client");
void OnTick()
   string text;
   static datetime time_out;
   MqlTick last_tick;

   // reading the messages
     printf("Receive: %s, %s, %u", client.uin, client.msg, client.len);

   // transmission of quotes every 30 seconds
      time_out = TimeCurrent();
      SymbolInfoTick(Symbol(), last_tick);
      text = Symbol()+" BID:"+DoubleToString(, Digits())+
                  " ASK:"+DoubleToString(last_tick.ask, Digits()); 
      if (client.SendMessage("266690424",        //<- number of the recipient 
                                        text)) //<- message text 
         printf("Send: " + text);

Figure 1. serves as a demonstration of the work of the Expert Advisor, which allows for the exchange of text messages with the ICQ client.

Figure 1. Text messaging between MetaTrader5 and ICQ2Go

Figure 1. Text messaging between MetaTrader 5 and ICQ2Go

Capacity building

Let's complicate the task by bringing it closer to practical application. For example, we need to manage the work of our Expert Advisor, and obtain the necessary information remotely, using a mobile phone or another PC connected to the Internet. To do this, we describe a set of commands for controlling the future Expert Advisor. Also, let's complement the advisor with a parsing function to decode the incoming commands.

The format, common to all commands, will be as following: 

[? |!] [command] [parameter] [value] ,

where? - A symbol of command reading; ! - A symbol of a operation writing.

A list of commands given in the table below:

 help  reading  Display of reference of the syntax and the list of commands
 info  reading  Display of data of the account summary
 symb  reading  Market price for given currency pair
 ords  reading/writing  Managing of open orders
 param  reading/writing  managing Expert Advisor's parameters
 close  record  Termination of the Expert Advisor's work and the closure of the terminal
 shdwn  record  Shutdown of PC

The Expert Advisor, which implements the processing of this set of commands, is located in the file icq_power.mq5 .

Figure 2 shows a clear demonstration of the work of the Expert Advisor. Commands are received from the CCP with an installed ICQ client (Figure 2a), as well as through the WAP server which implements the work with ICQ (Figure 2b). The second option is preferable for those who do not wish to deal with searching for, installing, and configuring software for ICQ on their mobile phone.


Figure 2. Working with an advisor via the ICQ client for Pocket PC (Figure 2a), as well as through the wap site (Figure 2b).

Visual ICQ component

This section will briefly consider an example of a script icq_visual.mq5 which implements a component, the visual appearance of which is shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Visual ICQ component

Figure 3. Visual ICQ component

The form of the component resembles a Windows window and is built from arrays of control elements, such as buttons, text boxes, and text labels.

For convenience, an integrated control element for storing a list of accounts and contacts is implemented in the form. Values are selected from the list through the use of appropriate navigation buttons.

To create a window in the style of ICQ 6.5, we can replace the buttons with image tags. Figure 4 shows the visual appearance of the component, implemented in the icq_visual_skin.mq5 script. For those who wish to create their own component design, it is sufficient enough to develop and replace the skin.bmp file, which is responsible for the appearance of the window.

Figure 4. Color design of the visual component of ICQ

Figure 4. Color design of the visual ICQ component


This article demonstrates one of the easiest ways to implement an ICQ client for MetaTrader 5 by using the means of an embedded programming language.

Translated from Russian by MetaQuotes Software Corp.
Original article:

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