These days SAS programmers have more choices than ever before about how to run SAS. They can use the old Display Manager interface, or SAS Enterprise Guide, or the new kid on the block: SAS Studio. All of these are included with Base SAS.
Once upon a time, the only choices were Display Manager (officially named the SAS windowing environment), or batch. Then along came SAS Enterprise Guide. (Ok, I know there were a few others, but I don’t count SAS/ASSIST which was rightly spurned by SAS users, or the Analyst application which was just a stopover on the highway to SAS Enterprise Guide.)
I recently asked a SAS user, “Which interface do you use for SAS programming?”
She replied, “Interface? I just install SAS and use it.”
“You’re using Display Manager,” I explained, but she had no idea what I was talking about.
Trust me. This person is an extremely sophisticated SAS user who does a lot of leading-edge mathematical programming, but she didn’t realize that Display Manager is not SAS. It is just an interface to SAS.
This is where old timers like me have an advantage. If you can remember running SAS in batch, then you know that Display Manager, SAS Enterprise Guide, and SAS Studio are just interfaces to SAS–wonderful, manna from heaven–but still just interfaces. They are optional. You could write SAS programs in Word or Notepad or some other editor, and submit them in batch–but why would you? (I know someone is going to tell me that they do, in fact, do that, but the point is that it is not mainstream. Only mega-nerds with the instincts of a true hacker do that these days.)
Each of these interfaces has advantages and disadvantages. I’m not going to list them all here, because this is a blog not an encyclopedia, but the tweet would be
“DM is the simplest, EG has projects, SS runs in browsers.”
Personally, I think all of these interfaces are keepers. At least for the near future, all three of these interfaces will continue to be used. What we are seeing here is a proliferation of choices, not displacement of one with another.
So what’s your SAS interface?