Susan Slaughter

Highlights from SAS Global Forum 2013

In Everything, ODS Graphics, SAS, SAS Global Forum on May 15, 2013 at 8:31 pm

SGF2013logoI’ve already written about one highlight of SAS Global Forum 2013: the SAS Web Editor. Here are some more features that I think deserve mention. Please note that I make no claims about the comprehensiveness or completeness of this list.

SAS 9.4 and Enterprise Guide 6.1 are scheduled for release in June and bring some important new features.  Here are a few:

ODS POWERPOINT destination  The usefulness of this destination is obvious.  There will be two new styles designed specifically for PowerPoint: one with a white background and one with a black background.  You can use other styles too, but these new styles have the advantage of being fully compatible with the PowerPoint theme selector.  Any graphs you create using ODS Graphics will be embedded in this destination.

ODS LAYOUT  If I remember correctly, the first time I ever heard about the ODS LAYOUT statement was at SUGI 28 in 2003.  I don’t know why it has taken so long to move to production, but I’m glad it’s finally here. If you need custom reports that combine results from multiple procedures, then you will probably love ODS LAYOUT.

PROC ODSLIST and PROC ODSTEXT  These new procedures allow you to create bulleted lists and formatted blocks of text in reports. The content can be static or dynamic (based on a data set).

ODS Graphics  The SG procedures continue to mature.  When I attended Dan Heath’s super-demo on SG procedures, members of the audience repeatedly said “Oh, good, I need that.” New features include a SORT= option in SGPANEL, insets in SGPANEL, split characters for tick and axis labels, and PERCENT and MEDIAN options for STAT=.

Enterprise Guide  For a long time, one of the problems with Enterprise Guide was that it kept evolving so quickly that users felt like they had to learn it all over again with each release. EG users will be glad to know that EG 6.1 uses the same basic layout as EG 4.2 and 5.1.  Improvements in EG 6.1 include sticky notes and a log summary to help people who write code.  Developer Casey Smith said there will be better integration with the ODS Graphics Editor.  I am glad to hear that ODS Graphics is being supported in EG, and I would like to see this dramatically increased. EG users should have the best graphics that SAS can offer.

SGF is finally global  28 percent of attendees were from outside the US.  I have attended SGF and it’s predecessor SUGI for decades, and most of that time I didn’t see a single attendee from outside the US. It’s exciting to see SAS Global Forum living up to its name.

Finally, if you didn’t get to attend SGF (or even if you did) there were some great presentations that you should watch.  I know these have been mentioned by many other people, but they are surprisingly hard to find online. So here are the links:

Opening Session The Opening Session was informative and included an amazing performance by the dance troupe Les Ombres.

Roger Craig’s talk about how he used analytics to train to be a contestant on Jeopardy! was fascinating.

  1. I did a paper on the object-oriented data step interface to ODS, what they now call ODS layout, way back in 2004, and you saw hear about it in 2003. So that’s 10 years in test before it moved to production. I wonder if that’s a record.

  2. Thanks for your highlights blog post from a person making up a fraction of the 28% from Australia. 🙂

    I remember seeing ODS Graphics Editor being demoed at a SASGF a few years ago, thinking if only it was in Enterprise Guide… Great to see it is happening. It’s also great to have some sessions available On Demand as getting to all the sessions can be tough… http://support.sas.com/events/sasglobalforum/2013/live.html

    • @Michelle Yes, I agree that it is great to have some sessions available. There are a couple papers that I’m still hoping to see in the SGF Take-out.

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