Chris Hemedinger

10月 102017

Remember when 100MB was large?

SAS 9.4 Maintenance 5 includes new support for reading and writing GZIP files directly. GZIP files, usually found with a .gz file extension, are a different format than ZIP files. Although both are forms of compressed files, a GZIP file is usually a compressed copy of a single file, whereas a ZIP file is an "archive" -- a collection of files in a compressed virtual folder. GZIP tools are built into Unix/Linux platforms and are commonly used to save space when storing large text-based files that you're not ready to part with: log files, csv files, and more. The algorithm used to compress GZIP files performs especially well with text files, although you can technically GZIP any file that you want.

I've written extensively about using FILENAME ZIP to read and write ZIP archives with SAS. The latest version of filename my_gz ZIP "path-to-file/compressedfile.txt.gz" GZIP;

Here's an example that creates a compressed version of a log file:

filename source "C:\Logs\SEGuide_log.10168.txt";
filename tozip ZIP "C:\Logs\SEGuide_log.10168.txt.gz" GZIP;
data _null_;   
   infile source;
   file tozip ;
   put _infile_ ;

In my test here, the result represents a significant size difference, with the compressed file occupying just 14% of the space.

To "re-inflate" the compressed file, we can perform the opposite operation. (I added the ENCODING option here because I know my log file was UTF-8 encoded.)

filename target "C:\LogsExpanded\SEGuide_log.10168.txt" encoding='utf-8';
filename fromzip ZIP "C:\Logs\SEGuide_log.10168.txt.gz" GZIP;
data _null_;   
   infile fromzip;
   file target ;
   put _infile_ ;

You don't have to explicitly expand a compressed text file in order to read it with SAS. You can use the GZIP method to read and parse a .gz file directly, similar to the zcat command that you might be familiar with from the Unix shell:

filename fromzip ZIP "C:\Logs\SEGuide_log.10168.txt.gz" GZIP;
data logdata;   
   infile fromzip; /* read directly from compressed file */
   input  date : yymmdd10. time : anydttme. ;
   format date date9. time timeampm.;

If your file is in a binary format such as a SAS data set (sas7bdat) or Excel (XLS or XLSX), you probably will need to expand the file completely before reading it as data. These files are read using special drivers that don't process the bytes sequentially, so you need the entire file available on disk.

Note: Because each GZIP file represents just one compressed file, the MEMBER= option doesn't apply. When dealing with ZIP file archives that contain multiple files, you could use the MEMBER= option on FILENAME ZIP to address a specific file that you want. My recent example about FINFO and file details relies heavily on that approach. However, the GZIP option and MEMBER= options are mutually exclusive. In that way, it's much simpler...just like its Unix shell equivalent.

* ZIP drive image By © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

The post Reading and writing GZIP files with SAS appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

9月 082017

It's time to share another tip about working with ZIP files in SAS. Since I first wrote about FILENAME ZIP to list and extract files from a ZIP archive, readers have been asking for more. Specifically, they want additional details about the files that are contained in a ZIP, including the original file datetime stamps, file size, and compressed size. Thanks to a feature that was quietly added into SAS 9.4 Maintenance 3, you can use the FINFO function to retrieve these details. In this article, I share a SAS macro program that does the job.

Here's an abridged example of the output. If you need to create something like this without the use of external ZIP tools like 7-Zip or WinZip (which are often unavailable in controlled environments), read on.


You can download the full program from my public gist on GitHub:

ZIPpy details: a solution in three macros

Here's my basic approach to this problem:

  • First, create a list of all of the ZIP files in a directory and all of the file "members" that are compressed within. I've already shared this technique in a previous article. Like an efficient (or lazy) programmer, I'm just reusing that work. That's macro routine #1 (%listZipContents).
  • With this list in hand, iterate through each ZIP file member, "open" the file with FOPEN, and gather all of the available file attributes with FINFO. I've divided this into two macros for readability. %getZipMemberInfo (macro routine #2) retrieves all of the file details for a single member and stores them in a data set. %getZipDetails (macro routine #3) iterates through the list of ZIP file members, calls %getZipMemberInfo on each, and concatenates the results into a single output data set.

Here's a sample usage:

  %listzipcontents (targdir=C:\Projects\ZIPPED_Examples, outlist=work.zipfiles);
  %getZipDetails (inlist=work.zipfiles, outlist=work.zipdetails);

I tried to add decent comments to my program so that interested coders can study and adapt as needed. Here's a snippet of code that uses the FINFO function, which is really the important part for retrieving these file details.

 Assumes an assignment like:
  FILENAME F ZIP "C:\ZIPPED_Examples\" member="src/AboutThisProject.txt";
fId = fopen("&f","S");
if fID then
     do i=1 to infonum;
      select (infoname);
       when ('Filename') filename=finfo(fid,infoname);
       when ('Member Name') membername=finfo(fid,infoname);
       when ('Size') filesize=input(finfo(fid,infoname),15.);
       when ('Compressed Size') compressedsize=input(finfo(fid,infoname),15.);
       when ('CRC-32') crc32=finfo(fid,infoname);
       when ('Date/Time') filetime=input(finfo(fid,infoname),anydtdtm.);
 compressedratio = compressedsize / filesize;
 fId = fClose( fId );

The FINFO function in SAS provides access to file attributes and their values for a given file that you've accessed using the FOPEN function. The available file attributes can differ according to the type of file (FILENAME access method) that is used. ZIP files, as you can guess, have some attributes that are specific to them: "Compressed Size", "CRC-32", and others. This code checks for all of the available attributes and keeps those that we need for our detailed output. (And see the use of the SELECT/WHEN statement? So much more readable than a bunch of IF/THEN/ELSEs.)

Look, I'm not going to claim that my approach to this problem is the most elegant or most efficient -- but it works. If it can be improved, then I'm sure I'll hear from a few of you experts out there. Bring it on!

For more about ZIP files in SAS

The post Using FILENAME ZIP and FINFO to list the details in your ZIP files appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

8月 262017

News flash: My favorite SAS code editor is SAS Enterprise Guide. However, my favorite general purpose text editor is Notepad++, and I often find myself using that tool for viewing SAS log files and for making small modifications to SAS programs. Judging from the popularity of this SAS Support Communities discussion, I'm not alone. In this post, I'll share the steps for turning Notepad++ into a more useful home for SAS programs.

You can download Notepad++ for Windows from here -- you can use it for free, no cost. That's one reason that it's one of the first tools that I install on any new PC I get my hands on!

1. Associate SAS files with Notepad++

You accomplish this in the usual way with Windows. In Windows Explorer, right-click (or SHIFT+right-click depending on your setup) on a .SAS file (SAS program), and select Open with...

Open with menu

► You might see Notepad++ in the menu, but don't select it, Instead, select Choose another app.

Choose another app

► In this menu, select Notepad++ and check the "Always use this app" checkbox.

Repeat this step for SAS program logs (.LOG files) and listing output (.LST files) if you want.

2. Run a SAS program from Notepad++

You can add new program actions to the Run menu in Notepad++. Here's how to add a command to run a SAS program, if you have SAS for Windows installed. Note: These steps assume that the SAS program is open in Notepad++ and is saved in a file.

► Select Run... from the Run menu. In the program to run field, enter this command:

"C:\Program Files\SASHome\SASFoundation\9.4\sas.exe" -sysin "$(FULL_CURRENT_PATH)" -log "$(CURRENT_DIRECTORY)\$(NAME_PART).log" -print "$(CURRENT_DIRECTORY)\$(NAME_PART).lst"

all on one line. You might need to adjust the SAS.EXE path for your install. The command options use some Notepad++ environment variables to direct the SAS log and listing output to the same path as the SAS program file.

Click Save (not Run).

Click Save

Optionally, assign a shortcut key to the action, and name it "Run program file in SAS" (or whatever you want). This adds the command to your Run menu.

Run in SAS command

When you select it, Notepad++ will launch SAS, run your program in batch, and direct the output to the same folder where the program is stored.

3. Adding SAS syntax color coding to Notepad++

It's simple to "teach" Notepad++ to recognize the keywords from SAS and other languages. You can download new language definitions files from here -- follow the instructions on the page to have your Notepad++ recognize them. I've created an expanded definition file that includes more SAS keywords (many, many more!) -- you can grab that from my GitHub repo here.

Here's what SAS code looks like in my Notepad++:

my Notepad++ SAS look

What else?

I'm sure that some of you have spent more time than I have in creating a souped-up Notepad++ environment, or perhaps you've taken it to another level with other popular editors like Sublime or Vim or UltraEdit. If you have other tips to share, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

The post Using Notepad++ as your SAS code editor appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

8月 192017

SAS programmers have high expectations for their coding environment, and why shouldn't they? Companies have a huge investment in their SAS code base, and it's important to have tools that help you understand that code and track changes over time. Few things are more satisfying as a SAS program that works as designed and delivers perfect results. (Oh, hyperbole you say? I don't think so.) But when your program isn't working the way it should, there are two features that can help you get back on track: a code debugger, and program revision history. Both of these capabilities are built into SAS Enterprise Guide. Program history was added in v7.1, and the debugger was added in v7.13.

I've written about the DATA step debugger before -- both as a teaching tool and as a productivity tool. In this article, I'm sharing a demo of the debugger's features, led by SAS developer Joe Flynn. Before joining the SAS Enterprise Guide development team, Joe worked in SAS Technical Support. He's very familiar with "bugs," and reported his share of them to SAS R&D. Now -- like every programmer -- Joe makes the bugs. But of course, he fixes most of them before they ever see the light of day. How does he do that? Debugging.

This video is only about 8 minutes long, but it's packed with good information. In the debugger demo, you'll learn how you can use standard debugging methods, such as breakpoints, step over and step through, watch variables, jump to, evaluate expression, and more. There is no better way to understand exactly what is causing your DATA step to misbehave.

Joe's debugger

In the program history demo (the second part of the video), you'll learn how team members can collaborate using standard source management tools (such as Git). If you establish a good practice of storing code in a central place with solid source management techniques, SAS Enterprise Guide can help you see who changed what, and when. SAS Enterprise Guide also offers a built-in code version comparison tool, which enhances your ability to find the breaking changes. You can also use the code comparison technique on its own, outside of the program history feature.

program history

Take a few minutes to watch the video, and then try out the features yourself. You don't need a Git installation to play with program history at the project level, though it helps when you want to extend that feature to support team collaboration.

See also

The post Code debugging and program history in SAS Enterprise Guide appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

8月 052017

Many years ago I shared a custom task that allows you to view and manage SAS catalogs within SAS Enterprise Guide. As a reminder, a SAS catalog is a special type of SAS file that acts as a container, like a folder, for a variety of content items called catalog entries. Conceptually, this is like a folder in a file system with a diverse collection of file types. The entries and their uses are specific to SAS, and they include things like SOURCE (program code), SCL (SAS Component Language) programs, SAS format definitions, compiled SAS macro programs, and more.

Most catalog entries aren't that interesting for SAS Enterprise Guide users -- with the notable exception of SAS format definitions. Beginning with the day that I shared the task on my blog, my readers began asking for the ability to see inside a SAS format definition. I replied, "great idea! I'll put that on my to-do list." Here it is, 7 years later -- and I've got it done. I am a man of my word.

>> Download the task from here (ZIP file, with README text file instructions)

Pay special attention to the README instructions to deploy the correct version, and make sure you unblock the task DLL if needed.

And more good news -- this task is scheduled to ship as a built-in task (on the Tools menu) in the next release of SAS Enterprise Guide, coming soon. The custom task download will support SAS Enterprise Guide versions 4.3 through 7.13. Later versions will have the task already available!

Key features of the Catalog and Formats Explorer

Like the original task that I shared, this revised task allows you to explore SAS libraries and the catalogs that they contain. You can view the metadata about every catalog entry -- name, type, description, created and modified dates. You can also delete entries that you need to clean up. And you can view the contents of certain types of entries, mainly SOURCE entries and the format entry types. Here are the main enhancements:

  • You can view the contents of FORMAT, FORMATC, INFMT, INFMTC entries
  • The window displays “modeless” – you can have it showing while you still work on other tasks, such as your SAS programs. Define a format in code, run it, and then click Refresh in the task to see it.
  • You'll find special entry for "User-defined formats", which shows just the catalogs that contain format definitions within the FMTSEARCH path. You can still navigate any library to find catalogs that contain formats.

Here's a screenshot of the task. You can also watch my 5-minute video demonstration of the task in action on SAS Support Communities.

For developers: How it was built

Since the original task was shared as a companion example for my custom tasks book, I've also shared the source code that goes into these enhancements. You can find these in the same GitHub repository that contains the original version. Adding these enhancements makes use of other techniques that I've already shared on this blog.

To generate a text report of a format definition, the task submits a PROC FORMAT step with a SELECT statement. Here's an example:

filename fmtout temp;  
%let _catexp1 = %sysfunc(getoption(center));  
%let _catexp2 = %sysfunc(getoption(date));  
%let _catexp3 = %sysfunc(getoption(number));  
%let _catexp4 = %sysfunc(getoption(pagesize));  
options nocenter nodate nonumber pagesize=max;  
ods listing file=fmtout; 
proc format fmtlib lib=dbmlnx.formats; 
 select ab; 
ods listing close; 
options &_catexp1. &_catexp2. &_catexp3. PS=&_catexp4.;

With the listing file generated, the task uses code similar to this Windows PowerShell example to download the contents of the output. You might notice that the SAS code sets a few system options, but it stores and later replaces the option values so that your other programs won't be affected.

If you like to tinker, feel free to download the source code and see how it works. If you want to learn more about custom tasks in SAS Enterprise Guide, view my Ask the Expert session, available on-demand from here.

The post Viewing SAS catalogs and formats in SAS Enterprise Guide appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

7月 262017

recently used filesI use SAS Enterprise Guide every day, and for a wide variety of tasks. As a result, I have a huge collection of project files (EGP files) and SAS program files.

I have always relied on the "recently used" list in the File menu to provide me with quick access to the files I need to open. The File menu keeps two lists: one for project files and one for SAS programs. With a click into either list, you can see a simple list of all of the file names. Hover your cursor over any of the names to see a tooltip with the full path -- very useful in case you have similarly named files in different folders.

By default, the number of recently used items (SAS programs and projects) that the File menu tracks is just 6. That's not nearly as many as I need, so I've always changed that setting to the maximum, which has always been 15. You can find the setting in Tools→Options, General tab.

I recently learned that in SAS Enterprise Guide v7.12 and later, the maximum number of "recent files" to track was raised to 50! With more high-resolution displays in the field, even a long list of recent files can provide a convenient method to save a few clicks. I think 50 is a little high for me (I'll be reaching into last year's files), so I bumped my setting to 30.

Get EG to remember more files for you!

And don't forget the "jump list" in Windows 7 and later! Every program or project file that SAS Enterprise Guide opens is also added to this quick-access list that you can find on your Windows toolbar or Start menu. Here's an example of what that looks like:

jump list in Windows

The post Open recent files with fewer clicks in SAS Enterprise Guide appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

7月 172017

DMS keysSAS power users (and actually, power users of any application) like to customize their environment for maximimum productivity. Long-time SAS users remember the KEYS window in SAS display manager, which allows you to assign SAS commands to "hot keys" in your SAS session. These users will invest many hours to come up with the perfect keyboard mappings to suit the type of work that they do.

When using SAS Enterprise Guide, these power users often lament the lack of a similar KEYS window. But these people needn't suffer with the default keys -- a popular tool named AutoHotkey can fill the gap for this and for any other Windows application. I've recommended it to many SAS users over the years, and I've heard positive feedback from those who have adopted it. AutoHotkey is free, and it's lightweight and portable; even users with "locked-down" systems can usually make use of it.

AutoHotkey provides its own powerful scripting language, which allows you define new behaviors for any key combination that you want to repurpose. When you activate these scripts, AutoHotkey gets first crack at processing your keypress, so you can redirect the built-in key mappings for any Windows application. I'll share two examples of different types of scripts that users have found helpful.

"Unmap" a key that you don't like

In SAS Enterprise Guide, F3 and F8 are both mapped to "Run program". A newer user found the F8 mapping confusing because she had a habit of using that key for something else, and so became quite annoyed when she kept accidentally running her process before she was ready.

The following AutoHotkey script "eats" the F8 keypress. The logic first checks to see if the running process is SAS Enterprise Guide (seguide.exe), and if so, it simply stops processing the action, effectively vetoing the F8 action.

WinGet, Active_ID, ID, A
WinGet, Active_Process, ProcessName, ahk_id %Active_ID%
if ( Active_Process ="seguide.exe" ) {
  ;eat the keystroke

Map a single key to an action that requires multiple keys or clicks

I recently shared a tip to close all open data sets in SAS Enterprise Guide. It's a feature on the Tools menu that launches a special window, and some readers wished for a single key mapping to get the job done. Using AutoHotkey, you can map a series of clicks/keystrokes to a single key.

The following script will select the menu item, activate the "View Open Data Sets" window, and then select Close All.

WinGet, Active_ID, ID, A
WinGet, Active_Process, ProcessName, ahk_id %Active_ID%
if ( Active_Process ="seguide.exe" ) 
  Sleep, 100
  Send {Alt Down}{Alt Up}{t}
  Sleep, 100  
  Send, {v}
  WinActivate, View Open Data Sets ahk_class
  Send, {Tab}
  Sleep, 100  
  Send, {Space}
  Sleep, 500  
  Send, {Esc}

You'll see that one of the script commands activates the "View Open Data Sets" window. The window "class" is referenced, and the class name is hardly intuitive. AutoHotkey includes a "Window spy" utility called "Active Window Info" that can help you to find the exact name of the window you need to activate.

Window Spy

AutoHotkey can direct mouse movements and clicks, but those directives might not be reliable in different Windows configurations. In my scripts, I rely on simulated keyboard commands. This script activates the top-level menu with Alt+"t" (for Tools), then "v" (for the "View Open Data Sets" window), then TAB to the "Close All" button, space bar to press the button, then Escape to close the window. Each action takes some time to take effect, so "Sleep" commands are inserted (with times in milliseconds) to allow the actions to complete.

Every action in SAS Enterprise Guide is accessible by the keyboard (even if several keystrokes are required). If you want to see all of the already-defined keyboard mappings, search the SAS Enterprise Guide help for "keyboard shortcuts."

Key help

Automate more with AutoHotkey

In this article, I've only just scratched the surface of how you can customize keys and automate actions in SAS Enterprise Guide. Some of our users have asked us to build in the ability to customize key actions within the application. While that might be a good enhancement within the boundaries of your SAS applications, a tool like AutoHotkey can help you to automate your common tasks within SAS and across other applications that you use. The scripting language presents a bit of a learning curve, but the online help is excellent. And there is a large community of AutoHotkey users who have published hundreds of useful examples.

Have you used AutoHotkey to automate any SAS tasks? If so, please share your tips here in the comments or within the SAS Enterprise Guide community.

The post Customize your keys in SAS Enterprise Guide with AutoHotkey appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

7月 032017

If you spend a lot of time in SAS Enterprise Guide (as I do), you probably get to know its features pretty well. But we don't always take the time to explore as we should, so there might be a few golden nuggets of editor knowledge that have escaped you so far. Here are 10 program editor features that I've found essential while writing, editing, and debugging SAS programs. How many of these do you already know and use?

1. Turn on the line numbers

We programmers like to count lines of code. The SAS log often uses line numbers to reference problems in WARNINGs and ERRORs. So of course, you should have line numbers displayed in the program editor. But they aren't on by default. Go to Program → Editor Options and select "Show line numbers" to turn them on.

line numbers

2. Get the tabs out (or leave them in)

Tabs or spaces? Your choice here can have a significant effect on your earning potential, and perhaps even on your love life. Most code editors have options that support your choice, regardless of which camp you choose. SAS Enterprise Guide offers these:

  • Tab size - width of a tab character, represented in number of spaces. Default is 4, but I like to use 2 as it makes my program lines less wide.
  • Insert spaces for tabs - when you press the TAB key, don't add a TAB character but instead add the specified number of space characters.
  • Replace tabs with spaces on file open - a perfect passive-aggressive option when working with team members who disagree with your TAB world view. This option will change TAB characters to spaces when you open the program file. If you must retain the TAB characters...well, my main advice is do not rely on TAB characters in your code file. But if you must for some crazy reason, don't select this option and sign a pact with your teammates for the same.

tabs vs spaces

3. Define abbreviations for commonly used code

The most common code snippet that I reuse is a LIBNAME statement that points to my project data. To save on typing and mistakes, I've saved this as an editor abbreviation. When I begin to type the alias I've assigned to the snippet, the program editor offers to complete it for me. The custom abbreviation is presented along side all of the other built-in syntax suggestions.

abbrev animation

See more about editor abbreviations in this article.

4. Let the editor format your code

As shown in the vigorous "TABS vs spaces" debate, programmers care deeply about how their code is formatted. Individuals and teams adopt various standards for line breaks and indenting, and these are usually particular to the programming language. In general, SAS doesn't care how your code is laid out -- statements are delimited by semicolons, and that's the only cue that SAS needs. However, your teammates (and your future YOU, rereading your code) might appreciate something a little more readable.

Press Ctrl+I to format your entire program, applying some reasonable readability rules to indent code lines with conditionals and looping logic. Or select just a portion of the program and press Ctrl+I to affect a smaller part of the program. You can adjust some of the formatting rules by visiting Program → Editor Options, the Indenter tab.

autoformat code

5. Zoom out for the big picture

Some SAS programs are long -- hundreds (or thousands!) of lines of code. Sometimes it's helpful to get a birds-eye view of your code to understand its structure and to help you navigate. The Zoom feature is super helpful for this. Simply press Ctrl+- (control-minus) until you get the view you need. Press Ctrl++ (control-plus) to zoom back in, or press Ctrl+0 to get to the 100% view.

This trick works for SAS logs as well, and also data sets and ODS output (including text listing, which uses the program editor in a special mode for viewing SAS output).

zoom out

6. Change the program editor font

Want to waste an afternoon? Search the Internet for "best font for programmers" and experiment with all of the results that you find. I discovered Consolas (built into Microsoft Windows) a decade ago, and I've yet to find anything better. I use it for all of my "fixed font" needs: programming, terminal windows, command consoles, etc. But you can choose your own favorite -- just don't feel that you're stuck with the default "Courier" that seems to be standard issue.

Change your font in Programs → Editor Options, Appearance tab. You'll find lots of elements that you can tweak for typeface, size and color.

7. Select columns of content with block selection

Even though column block selection -- also known as "Alt+Select" -- is a standard feature in most advanced text editors, many programmers don't know about it. It's the perfect trick for selecting just a few columns of your text without including the content that's on the rest of the line. In SAS programming, this can be handy for selecting columns of values from the text listing output and pasting somewhere else, such as into a DATALINES block. It takes a little practice to master the Alt+Select, but once you do you'll find all sorts of uses for it. To get started, simply hold down the Alt key and click-drag to highlight a vertical column of text within the editor.

column selection animation

8. Find (and replace) using regular expressions

Regular expressions are a powerful, if confusing, method for finding and replacing text that matches certain patterns. The Find/Find and Replace window in SAS Enterprise Guide supports "Regular expression search" as a checkbox option.

Here's an example. Suppose I wanted to find all occurrences of 3 numbers after the thousands separator (comma) at the end of each data line -- and I wanted to turn those digits into zeros. (I don't know why--but just stick with me here.) A regex pattern to match this is ",\d\d\d\n" (comma, followed by 3 occurrences of numeric digits, followed by a line ending). Here's an animation of this in action.

regex replace animation

For more, select Help→SAS Enterprise Guide help and search for "regular expressions". The help topics contain several examples of useful patterns.

9. Scroll just part of your document using a split view

Do you find yourself scrolling back and forth in your program view? Trying to remember what was in that DATA step at the top of your program so you can reference the proper variable in another part of your code? Instead of dealing with "scrolling whiplash", you can split the program editor view to keep one part of your code always visible while you work on another code segment that's hundreds of lines away from it.

split view

There are several ways to split your view of SAS code, log output, and listing. Check out the article here for details.

10. Break out to your other favorite editor

Please don't tell anyone, but I have a secret: SAS Enterprise Guide is not my default application associated with .SAS files. When I double-click on a .SAS file in Windows Explorer, I like to use Notepad++ to provide a quick view of what's in that program file. Don't get me wrong: I use SAS Enterprise Guide for all of my serious SAS programming work. With syntax suggestions, color coding, built-in DATA step debugger, and more -- there just isn't a better, more full-featured environment. (No, I'm not trying to troll you, diehard SAS display manager users -- you keep using what makes you happy.) But Notepad++ has a deep set of text editing features, and sometimes I like to use it for hardcore find/replace functions, deeper inspection of special characters in my files, and more.

You can launch your program into your other favorite editor from SAS Enterprise Guide. Simply right-click on the program node in your process flow, select Open → Open <program name> with Windows Default. And make sure your other editor is registered in Windows as the default "Open with" action for SAS programs. Note: this trick works only with SAS programs that you've saved locally on your Windows file system.

Open with default

More than editing -- this is your workbench

The program editor isn't just about "editing programs." It's also the launchpad for several other programmer-centric features, such as debugging your DATA step, comparing your SAS programs, viewing program history and source control, and more. If you use SAS Enterprise Guide, take the time to learn about all of its programming features -- you'll become a more productive programmer as a result.

The post Ten SAS Enterprise Guide program editor tricks appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

6月 292017

One of the big benefits of the SAS Viya platform is how approachable it is for programmers of other languages. You don't have to learn SAS in order to become productive quickly. We've seen a lot of interest from people who code in Python, maybe because that language has become known for its application in machine learning. SAS has a new product called SAS Visual Data Mining and Machine Learning. And these days, you can't offer such a product without also offering something special to those Python enthusiasts.

Introducing Python SWAT

And so, SAS has published the Python SWAT project (where "SWAT" stands for the SAS scripting wapper for analytical transfer. The project is a Python code library that SAS released using an open source model. That means that you can download it for free, make changes locally, and even contribute those changes back to the community (as some developers have already done!). You'll find it at

SAS developer Kevin Smith is the main contributor on Python SWAT, and he's a big fan of Python. He's also an expert in SAS and in many programming languages. If you're a SAS user, you probably run Kevin's code every day; he was an original developer on the SAS Output Delivery System (ODS). Now he's a member of the cloud analytics team in SAS R&D. (He's also the author of more than a few conference papers and SAS books.)

Kevin enjoys the dynamic, fluid style that a scripting language like Python affords - versus the more formal "code-compile-build-execute" model of a compiled language. Watch this video (about 14 minutes) in which Kevin talks about what he likes in Python, and shows off how Python SWAT can drive SAS' machine learning capabilities.

New -- but familiar -- syntax for Python coders

The analytics engine behind the SAS Viya platform is called CAS, or SAS Cloud Analytic Services. You'll want to learn that term, because "CAS" is used throughout the SAS documentation and APIs. And while CAS might be new to you, the Python approach to CAS should feel very familiar for users of Python libraries, especially users of pandas, the Python Data Analysis Library.

CAS and SAS' Python SWAT extends these concepts to provide intuitive, high-performance analytics from SAS Viya in your favorite Python environment, whether that's a Jupyter notebook or a simple console. Watch the video to see Kevin's demo and discussion about how to get started. You'll learn:

  • How to connect your Python session to the CAS server
  • How to upload data from your client to the CAS server
  • How SWAT extends the concept of the DataFrame API in pandas to leverage CAS capabilities
  • How to coax CAS to provide descriptive statistics about your data, and then go beyond what's built into the traditional DataFrame methods.

Learn more about SAS Viya and Python

There are plenty of helpful resources to help you learn about using Python with SAS Viya:

And finally, what if you don't have SAS Viya yet, but you're interested in using Python with SAS 9.4? Check out the SASPy project, which allows you to access your traditional SAS features from a Jupyter notebook or Python console. It's another popular open source project from SAS R&D.

The post Using Python to work with SAS Viya and CAS appeared first on The SAS Dummy.

5月 312017

SAS programs in Excel, finally!When SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office was first created over a decade ago, SAS programmers were told to check their skills at the door. This new product was for non-programmers only. SAS programmers were invited to contribute to the experience by packaging their code in SAS stored processes, which end users would then run using point-and-click menus. But there was no way to write and run your SAS programs directly in Microsoft Excel or Word or PowerPoint.

This was a comfort to many SAS administrators, who wanted to provide SAS analytics to their end users but didn't want them to have to learn to program. Or perhaps to even allow them to program. But, times have changed. Citizen data scientists have been practicing their coding skills, and now they want to mix it up in Microsoft Office. In response to this demand, SAS R&D has added the SAS programming environment -- the parts that make sense, anyway -- into SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office. You can write programs, run them, and drop the results into any part of your Microsoft Office document.

Here's a short screencast of how it works in Microsoft Excel:

SAS programming in AMO

If you want to learn more and see a narrated demo from the principal developer, watch this interview with Tim Beese from SAS R&D. Tim shows the coding feature along with several other cool enhancements to SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office. As Tim explains, SAS administrators still have the final say when it comes to allowing Excel users to let loose with SAS code -- they can enable the feature by role, and so grant this as a privilege at their discretion.

The first few minutes of this video shows some impressive integration with SAS Visual Analytics and Microsoft Excel. The SAS programming demo begins around the 5-minute mark.

The post Create and run SAS code in SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office appeared first on The SAS Dummy.