Susan Slaughter

Archive for the ‘Everything’ Category

Introducing The Little SAS Enterprise Guide Book

In Everything on April 13, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Image of The Little SAS Enterprise Guide BookThere is a new member of The Little SAS Book family: The Little SAS Enterprise Guide Book.  This book is for people who use SAS Enterprise Guide as their interface.  EG is a point-and-click interface for SAS, but it’s great for programmers too.  And this book includes a new chapter covering the wonderful features for SAS programmers along with discussion of special issues that they face.

If you are familiar with our other EG books, you may be wondering why this one isn’t called the “Fourth Edition.”  That is because we changed the title slightly.  Our previous EG books were each written for a specific version of EG, and consequently had the version number right in the title.  This book was written using EG 7.1, but it also applies to some earlier versions (5.1 and 6.1).  With a little luck, this book will also apply to future versions.  So it’s a keeper.

I’m very pleased with how this book has turned out.  Lora Delwiche and I updated it so that all the windows and icons match the current EG, and we also added some great new sections.  Even with the new topics, this book is 60 pages shorter than our previous EG book!  It is shorter because we replaced some chapters on specific types of tasks, with a new chapter that explains how tasks work in general.  The result is a book that is easier to read and more useful.

For more information about this book including the table of contents, an excerpt, and reviews, click here.

What’s Your SAS Interface?

In Enterprise Guide, Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on May 12, 2016 at 7:30 am

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 StudioAll of these are included with Base SAS.

DisplayManager9-4window

Display Manager / SAS Windowing Environment

EG7-12window

SAS Enterprise Guide

SASStudio3-5window

SAS Studio

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?

 

Free Resources for Learning SAS (and Other Tips from SAS Authors)

In Everything, Publishing, SAS, SAS Global Forum, SAS Papers, Western Users of SAS Software on May 3, 2016 at 1:01 pm

In celebration of SAS Global Forum, the folks at SAS Press gathered tips from SAS Press authors.  Here is my contribution:

This is the best time ever to learn SAS!

When I first encountered SAS, there were only two ways that I could get help. I could either ask another graduate student who might or might not know the answer, or I could go to the computer center and borrow the SAS manual. (There was only one.) Today it’s totally different.  I am continually amazed by the resources that are available now—many for FREE

Here are four resources that every new SAS user should know about:

1. SAS Studio

This is a wonderful new interface for SAS that runs in a browser and has both programming and point-and-click features. SAS Studio is free for students, professors, and independent learners. You can download the SAS University Edition to run SAS Studio on your own computer, or use SAS OnDemand for Academics via the Internet.

2. Online classes

Two of the most popular self-paced e-learning classes are available for free: SAS Programming 1: Essentials, and Statistics 1. These are real classes which in the past people paid thousands of dollars to take.

3. Videos

You can access hundreds of SAS training videos, tutorials, and demos at support.sas.com/training/tutorial. Topics range from basic (What is SAS?) to advanced (SAS 9.4 Metadata Clustering).

4. Community of SAS users

If you encounter a problem, it is likely that someone else has faced a similar situation and figured out how to solve it. On communities.sas.com you can post questions and get answers from SAS users and developers. On the site, www.lexjansen.com, you can find virtually every paper ever presented at a SAS users group conference. The site www.sasCommunity.org is a wiki-style compendium of all things SAS.

For more tips from SAS Press authors, click here to read them all.

 

Missed SGF 2016? It’s not too late

In Everything, SAS, SAS Global Forum, SAS Papers on April 22, 2016 at 9:29 am

SASGlobalForum2016logo

 

SAS Global Forum 2016 is over.

Thousands of conference attendees are now back home.  Much of the conference was live-streamed, but if you missed it, that’s all right because many of the best sessions were recorded.  However, finding particular videos can be tricky.  So, here are my favorites.  Click the heading to link to the video:

Opening Session Highlights

Learn where SAS is now and where it’s going including cloud computing with SAS Viya in a short and sweet 5 minute summary.

Ariana Huffington on The Sleep Revolution

Huffington talks about the importance of a good night’s sleep for doing our best.  This is the full presentation.

David McCandless on Data Visualization

McCandless is an amazing graphic artist of data.  This is the full presentation.

Breakout Sessions

The heart of SAS Global Forum has always been papers by SAS users for SAS users.  This year more have been recorded than ever before.

 

A short history of The Little SAS Book

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, Publishing, SAS on November 19, 2015 at 10:11 am

In celebration of SAS Press’ 25th anniversary, Lora Delwiche and I reminisced about what it was like writing the first edition of The Little SAS BookYou can read about it on The SAS Learning Post. LSB1_and_SAS_manual

Who was the first SAS user to write a SAS book?

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, Publishing, SAS, Writing on November 12, 2015 at 9:59 am

First_SAS_Book_cover SAS Press has been publishing books written by SAS users for 25 years.  That made me wonder: Who wrote the first such book?  The answer depends on how you phrase the question.  You can read about it on the SAS Learning Post.

Save Big on SAS Books

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on October 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

Have you been thinking about ordering a SAS book or two?  Now is the time to do it.  SAS Press is a quarter century old.  To celebrate, they are offering a 25% discount on books ordered by December 31, 2015.  To get the discount, use the promo code SMPBBP when you place your order at support.sas.com/publishing/ (only available in the US).

Since SAS Press always has FREE SHIPPING for books, this means you get a real bargain.  For example, if you were to order The Little SAS Book, Fifth Edition from Amazon.com, it would set you back $47.30.  But with the SAS Press 25% discount, the same book costs only $41.21.  Such a deal!

SASPress_25Anniv_1024x512-1My question is this: Will they offer a 50% discount in another quarter century?  We will just have to wait and see.

SAS Essentials

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS, Western Users of SAS Software on September 8, 2015 at 7:45 pm

WUSS2015logoThe SAS Essentials section at the Western Users of SAS Software conference was created for people who are new to SAS.  Each year this section includes three core presentations designed to give both a broad overview and, at the same time, a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of SAS. For years I have thought about teaching the SAS Essentials core classes.  Well, this year I finally took the plunge, so to speak.  I really did feel like I was diving into deep water.  It was overwhelming, but it was also fun!  I think I did a good job of covering the basics in a short space.  You can download my slides here:

How SAS Thinks: SAS Basics I

Introduction to DATA Step Programming: SAS Basics II

Introduction to SAS Procedures: SAS Basics III

Exercises for Learning SAS Programming

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on August 21, 2015 at 10:36 am

LSBXcoverOur new book, Exercises and Projects for The Little SAS® Book Fifth Edition, includes a variety of exercises to help people learn SAS programming.  Rebecca Ottesen, Lora Delwiche and I designed this book so that it can be used either in a classroom setting or by individual readers working alone.

One of the challenges we faced in writing exercises was how to create questions that were thought-provoking and yet not too complicated for people who are just starting to learn SAS.  Our goal was not only to test readers’ knowledge, but to solidify that knowledge so they will remember what they learn.  That’s why we included different types of exercises.  Multiple-choice exercises are quick and easy, open-ended short answer exercises encourage readers to think a little more deeply about the material, and then programming exercises challenge readers to apply what they have learned.

The following questions are examples of the three types of exercises found in our book.  For help with these exercises, see section 4.13 “Producing Tabular Reports with PROC TABULATE” in The Little SAS® Book, Fifth Edition.

Multiple Choice

1.  For variables listed in a CLASS statement, what statistic will PROC TABULATE produce by default?

a. Sums
b. Percentages
c. Means
d. Counts

2.  If you specify two dimensions in a TABLE statement in PROC TABULATE, which dimensions will you get?

a. Pages and rows
b. Pages and columns
c. Rows and columns
d. Columns and rows

Short Answer

3.  Explain what happens to observations with missing values for variables listed in a CLASS statement in PROC TABULATE.  Describe an option you can use to change this default behavior.

4.  Is it possible to write a TABLE statement in PROC TABULATE that specifies a row dimension but no column dimension?  Explain your answer.

Programming Exercises

    5.  A friend, who has recently begun bird watching, keeps a list of birds.  For each species, she records its name and three one letter codes.  The codes indicate whether or not she has seen that species (S for seen, or N for not seen), the type of bird (G for game birds, S for songbirds, R for raptors, or W for waterfowl), and whether or not that species is migratory (M for migratory, or N for nonmigratory).  Use the data in her list to create summary reports.

a. Write a DATA step to read the following raw data into a SAS data set.

Bald Eagle     S R M
Barn Owl       S R M
Gambel’s Quail S G N
Canada Goose   S G N
Cardinal       N S N
Common Loon    N W M
Condor         N R N
Crow           S S N
Elf Owl        N R N
Golden Eagle   N R M
Goldfinch      S S M
Magpie         S S N
Mallard        S W M
Meadowlark     N S N
Mockingbird    S S N
Osprey         N R M
Robin          S S M
Scrub Jay      S S N
Rock Ptarmigan N G N
Turkey         N G N

b. Using PROC TABLULATE, produce a report with counts that specifies rows for the type of bird and columns for whether the bird has been seen.  Be sure to include an appropriate title.

c. Create user-defined formats to replace the one letter codes with formatted values for the type of bird and whether or not it has been seen.  Rerun the report using the new formats.

d. Use a different procedure to produce the same counts.  Then add a comment to your program describing the differences between the two reports.

We hope that you found this information helpful.  Visit the book page for additional information, reviews, and a free book excerpt.

Presenting the Newest Member of The Little SAS Book Family

In Everything, Little SAS Book Series, SAS on July 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm

LSBXcoverThere is a new kid on the block: Exercises and Projects for The Little SAS Book Fifth Edition.  Rebecca Ottesen, Lora Delwiche and I have worked for three years to complete this book of multiple choice, short answer, programming exercises, and projects.  This book is designed to be used as a supplement to the fifth edition of The Little SAS Book.  However, I think this book has turned out so well that someone who just wants practice with SAS programming could use this book by itself.

One of the great things about this book is that we have created 77 data sets for the programming exercises, and you can download these data sets for free.

For more information about our book or to download the data, click here.