Susan Slaughter

Choose Your SAS Interface

In Everything on September 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm

A while back, I wrote about the proliferation of interfaces for writing SAS programs.  I am reposting that blog here (with a few changes) because a lot of SAS users still don’t understand that they have a choice.

These days SAS programmers have more choices than ever before about how to run SAS.  They can use the old SAS windowing enviroment (often called Display Manager because, face it, SAS windowing environment is way too vague), or SAS Enterprise Guide, or the new kid on the block: SAS StudioAll of these are included with Base SAS.

DisplayManager9-4window

Display Manager / SAS Windowing Environment

EG7-12window

SAS Enterprise Guide

SASStudio3-5window

SAS Studio

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.  It is possible to write SAS programs in an editor such as Word or Notepad++, and copy-and-paste into one of the interfaces or submit them in batch.  In fact, here is a great blog by Leonid Batkhan describing how to use your web browser as a SAS code editor.

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.”

I have heard rumors that SAS Institute is trying to develop an interface that combines the best features of all three.  So someday maybe one of these will displace the others, but at least for the near future, all three of these interfaces will continue to be used.

So what’s your SAS interface?

  1. My long time favorite is bringing a box of cards over to the computer center, ensuring to enclose a nice candy bar to improve processing speeds. Life was so much simpler then!

  2. @art What a great story! You know, batch is still important today, especially for production jobs in bigger shops. For people who never run those big jobs, it is easy to forget that batch exists. The newest release of SAS Studio can run in “background” mode. It’s not a full fledged batch system, but allows you to continue working while that job runs–without needing a candy bar.

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