Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 23:58:29 -0700
Reply-To: David L Cassell <davidlcassell@MSN.COM>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From: David L Cassell <davidlcassell@MSN.COM>
Subject: Re: Heretical Question Alternatives to SAS
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed
>On 5/23/07, David Wright <David_wright@spra.com> wrote:
>>I would like an alternative to Base SAS that was more like a programming
>>language. Most programming languages don't have SAS's (is that a word?)
>>procedures. Even proc print has some great automatic formatting routines.
>>print in a normal language you have to specify formats for all the
>>or create a form, which takes a good long time.
>>I recently ported a SAS Window data entry program in Visual Basic and it
>>turned into a much longer program becuase you had to test, trim, and take
>>care of every field, make sure the data types are all consistent. Forms
>>to be created just to print the output, you had to test and make sure the
>>columns were the right size.
>What exactly are your use cases -- only data manipulation? or
>integration with MS Windows programs? need the results to "fit in"
>If so, then SQL, Python, or Perl would be acceptable, and the last two
>of general use (though Perl tends to be a write-only language until
>one gets addicted to it like any other drug).
Hey! I like Perl! Oh wait, I'm addicted already... :-)
Seriously, Perl and Python seem like reasonable choices, while
SQL is limited to the usual database manipulations and basic
I would also add Ruby to this list. Perl, Python, and Ruby have
extensive modules which provide functionality that is somewhat
analogous to SAS procs.
>If you don't need the last, then you could write pure R, as someone
>else suggested (the only cross platform GUI toolkit for R that is
>stable is TK-based, which some find extremely ugly, and people who are
>merely pragmatic like because it "works").
Agreed. R is good. But it's stat only. I wouldn't want to have to
perform SAS-like database management or data manipulations
or data display or ETL in R.
>But thinking about your task description, it'll be annoying no matter
>what the language, and only less annoying if you know the language.
The secret is to find a language that makes the easy tasks easy, and
yet makes the hard tasks do-able. I find that SAS and Perl are two
such languages. For me, anyway. And there are things I certainly
would not write in either language. Like a real-time OS, or error
handling for Homer Simpson's nuclear power plant...
David L. Cassell
3115 NW Norwood Pl.
Corvallis OR 97330
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