Susan Slaughter

Debugging at SGF

In Everything, SAS, SAS Global Forum, SAS Papers on April 25, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Green Stink BugMost people think that all insects are bugs, but, in fact, only species belonging to the order Hemiptera are considered by scientists to be “true bugs.”  There are about 932,000 species of insects, but only 82,000 species of true bugs.  Fortunately for us, there are a lot fewer species of SAS bugs.

SAS bugs can be classified into three general types: syntax, data, and logic.

  • Syntax errors result when your program fails to follow SAS’s rules about the way keywords are put together to make statements.
  • Data errors happen when you have a program that is syntactically sound, but the data values do not fit the program as it was written.
  • Logic errors happen when you have a program that runs, and data that fits, but the result is wrong because the program gave the wrong instructions.

Debugging is one of my favorite topics.  I  believe that debugging your programs is not only necessary, but also a good way to gain insight into how SAS works.  Once you understand why you got an error, a warning, or a note; you’ll be better able to avoid problems in the future.  In other words, people who are good debuggers are good programmers.

I’m looking forward to talking about bugs (both the SAS kind, and some of the creepy-crawly kind too) at SAS Global Forum next week.  If you will be at there, maybe you can catch my presentation.

Errors, Warnings, and Notes (Oh My!): A Practical Guide to Debugging SAS Programs

Tuesday, May 30, 3:30-4:20 Moscone Center Room 2008

I hope you can come to SAS Global Forum, but if you can’t, there are still a lot of great ways to learn and share the excitement.

You can view my paper here.

You can view the proceedings for all SGF 2013 papers here.

You can view some great presentations on SAS Global Forum Take-Out.

You can even view much of the conference live.

  1. There is always room for talks on debugging programs: the one activilty that is shared by all programmers, no matter what the language or subject area. I wrote an article on “How to find and fix programming errors.” Although intended primarily for SAS/IML programmers, the ideas are generally applicable. The three errors I cover are parse-time errors, run-time errors, and logical errors.

    • Rick, thanks for sharing your blog post. Your three types of errors (parse-time, run-time and logical) are almost identical to our three (syntax, data, and logic). Clearly great minds think alike. Susan

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