9月 152017

Whether you are a SAS code creator, a blogger, a technical writer, an editor-in-chief, an executive, a secretary, a developer or programmer in any programming language or simply someone who uses computer or hand-held device for writing, you need to read this blog post – your life is about to change forever!

Did you know that you can use a web browser as a SAS code editor? I’m not talking about browser-based SAS programming interfaces like SAS University Edition or SAS Studio; these are full-blown applications. I’m talking about converting a regular web browser into a “notepad” where you can type, display, and save your SAS code. Or non-SAS code. Or practically anything. And you don’t even have to be connected to the Internet to use this browser functionality.

Converting a web browser into a notepad

This trick works with most modern browsers:

  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Safari

It will not work on Internet Explorer 11.

Try this: open your web browser (I am using Firefox in the examples below) or a new tab in your browser and type the following in the URL field (case insensitive):

data:text/html,<html contentEditable>

Hit Enter. Then click anywhere in the browser body.

Your browser has just turned into a Notepad. You can now type anything in it, including SAS code:

Using web browser as SAS code editor

In order to save your SAS code in Firefox, click on File ⇒ Save Page As… and save it as type Text Files (*.txt;*.text):

Saving SAS code in a browser as text file

This functionality is possible thanks to HTML5’s contentEditable attribute and the browsers’ ability to handle data URL.

I don’t know about you, but I find this browser-notepad feature very cool and handy. Not only does it allow you to type SAS code in your browser, but it also gives you the capability to take notes and copy & paste excerpts or code snippets from other web pages on non-web applications. If you use WebEx or Skype or Lync to present one of the SAS web browser-based products such as SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Statistics, etc., you can share your browser to your audience and make one of the tabs a typeable area. Then during your presentation you may switch between browser tabs depending on whether you are presenting SAS VA/VS or your own on-the-fly typing.

Bookmark notepad in a browser

If you like this Notepad browser feature, you can easily bookmark it by placing it on the Bookmarks toolbar. In this case, I suggest typing the following line in the URL filed:

data:text/html,<html contentEditable><title>Notepad</title>

and then dragging the image in front of this URL string and dropping it to the Bookmarks toolbar to create a button. Then, every time you need a Notepad it is at your fingertips; you just need to click the button:

Bookmark SAS code editor in a browser

Styling your new SAS editor in a browser

By default, your browser editor does not look pretty. However, you can apply CSS styles to it to make it look better. You can control font (style, size, color), margins, paddings, background and other CSS style attributes. For example, try the following URL:

data:text/html, <textarea style="width:100%; height:100%; padding:20px; font-size:2em; font-family: SAS Monospace; color:darkblue; border:none; border-left: 10px solid lightblue; margin-left: 30px;" autofocus/>

Your web browser editor becomes much more presentable:

Customize SAS code editor in a browser

The autofocus attribute places cursor immediately in the typing area of the browser notepad, without having to click on the browser body first.

I want to hear from you!

Do you like this editable browser feature? Would you use it to enhance your presentations? Do you envision yourself writing SAS code in a browser? An article, a blog post? What other usages can you envision using such a web browser transformation? Do you have any ideas to expand this notepad browser functionality beyond presenting, typing, taking notes, copying/pasting, and saving your SAS code? Can you apply SAS color syntax highlighting in a browser? Or a background image? How about submitting your SAS code from a browser?

Using a web browser as a SAS code editor was published on SAS Users.

9月 152017

ATTRS The SGPLOT procedure (as well as other ODS Graphics procedures) does a great job of creating nice- looking output with very little coding. However, there are times when you want to make adjustments to the output's appearance. For those occasions, we have an ATTRS for that!

The statements in PROC SGPLOT include many options that enable you to change the attributes for parts of the plot. Each of these options ends in ATTRS, which makes them easy to find in code.

Before you can change the attributes, you need to know which part of the plot you want to change.  For example, do you want to change the color of the line, the marker symbol, the size of the label font, and so on? Once you know the part of the graph that you want to change, you can search the PROC SGPLOT documentation for an ATTRS option.

In the following PROC SGPLOT code, we have added some ATTRS options to demonstrate the types of changes you can make to a graph.

proc sgplot data=sashelp.class;
vbar age / stat=freq datalabel datalabelattrs=(size=12pt color=blue)
fillattrs=(color=cx66A5A0) transparency=0.3 
dataskin=matte name='bar' 
legendlabel='Frequency of age';
vline age / stat=percent markers 
markerattrs=(symbol=circlefilled color= cx01665E size=12px) 
lineattrs=(color=cxD05B5B thickness=3px) 
curvelabel='Percent Line' 
curvelabelattrs=(size=11pt style=italic)
curvelabelloc=inside curvelabelpos=min 
name='vline' legendlabel='Percent of age' y2axis;
refline 4 / axis=y lineattrs=(pattern=2 thickness=2px) label='Refline' 
labelattrs=(size=12pt) labelpos=min labelloc=inside;
xaxis valueattrs=(size=10pt color=navy);
yaxis labelattrs=(size=12pt weight=bold) offsetmin=0;
keylegend 'bar' 'vline' / title='My legend' 
titleattrs=(color=blue size=14pt)
valueattrs=(size=12pt) noborder;


The figure below shows the graph that is produced by this PROC SGPLOT code. In the figure, some labels are added to help you identify the part of the graph that is modified using an ATTRS option. Note that this graph depicts only some of the ATTRS options that are available. For other ATTRS options, see the SAS® 9.4 ODS Graphics: Procedures Guide, Sixth Edition for the specific plot statement that you want to use.

In this figure:

  • The LABELATTRS= option enables you to change the color, font family, font weight, font style, and size for the axis or reference line labels.
  • The LINEATTRS= option enables you to change the color, pattern, and thickness for the plot line.
  • The CURVELABELATTRS= option enables you to change the color, font family, font weight, font style, and size for the text that is added by the CURVELABEL= option.
  • The DATALABELATTRS= option enables you to change the color, font family, font weight, font style, and size for the text that is added by the DATALABEL= option.
  • The MARKERATTRS= option enables you to change the color, size, and symbol for the plot markers.
  • The FILLATTRS= option enables you to change the color and transparency of the bar colors.
  • The VALUEATTRS= option enables you to change the color, font family, font weight, font style, and size for the axis tick-value labels or legend value labels.
  • The TITLEATTRS= option enables you to change the color, font family, font weight, font style, and size for the legend title.

For more information about attribute options, see the Commonly Used Attribute Options section of the SAS® 9.4 ODS Graphics: Procedures Guide, Sixth Edition.

The ATTRS options affect all of the output that is produced by that statement. This means that if you include the GROUP= option, all of the groups use the attributes that are specified in the ATTRS options. This behavior is great if you want all of the lines to use the same line pattern, but it can be a problem if you want to specify colors for each of your lines.

Beginning with SAS 9.4, the STYLEATTRS (notice the ATTRS ending) statement is part of the SPLOT (and SGPANEL) procedure to enable you to define attributes for grouped data.

For example, the following code uses the DATACONTRASTCOLORS= option to specify the colors for the marker symbols and the DATASYMBOLS= option to specify the symbols that are to be used.

ods graphics / attrpriority=none;
proc sgplot data=sashelp.class;
styleattrs datacontrastcolors=(pink blue)
datasymbols=(circlefilled squarefilled);
scatter x=age y=height / group=sex markerattrs=(size=10px);
xaxis valueattrs=(size=12pt) labelattrs=(size=14pt);
yaxis valueattrs=(size=12pt) labelattrs=(size=14pt);
keylegend / valueattrs=(size=12pt) titleattrs=(size=14pt);


You also might need to add the ATTRPRIORITY=NONE option in your ODS GRAPHICS statement to cycle the colors and symbols as expected. For more information about how the attributes are applied to the grouped values, see the How the Attributes Are Cycled section of the SAS® 9.4 ODS Graphics: Procedures Guide, Sixth Edition.

The attributes that are listed in the STYLEATTRS statement are associated with the group values in the order in which they appear in the data set. This behavior can cause the same value to be associated with a different color when you use the same code with another set of data.

To associate an attribute with a specific data value, you can define an attribute map. The attribute map is a data set, referenced in the DATTRMAP= option in the PROC SGPLOT statement, which includes variables that indicate to the SGPLOT procedure how to assign attributes to the group variable values.

Within the attribute map, the ID variable identifies the variables that are specific to a particular set of group values. The VALUE variable identifies the data value for the group variable that you want to associate with attributes. Note that if the variable for the GROUP= option has an associated format, the VALUE variable in the attribute map needs to contain the formatted value.

The other variables in the attribute map data set define attributes such as color, symbol, line thickness, and so on.

For example, the following code defines an attribute map to assign the color pink and the filled-circle  symbol to group value F and the color blue and the filled-square symbol to the group value M:

data myattrmap;
length markersymbol $12;
input value $ markercolor $ markersymbol $;
F pink circlefilled
M blue squarefilled
proc sgplot data=sashelp.class dattrmap=myattrmap;
scatter x=age y=height / group=sex markerattrs=(size=10px) attrid=scattersymbols;
xaxis valueattrs=(size=12pt) labelattrs=(size=14pt);
yaxis valueattrs=(size=12pt) labelattrs=(size=14pt);
keylegend / valueattrs=(size=12pt) titleattrs=(size=14pt);


Your attribute-map data set can contain multiple attribute maps, using a different value for the ID variable to distinguish each of the attribute maps. For more information about attribute maps, see the Using Attribute Maps to Control Visual Attributes section of the SAS® 9.4 ODS Graphics: Procedures Guide, Sixth Edition.

As you can see, there are many ways to assign attributes to plot elements. So, the next time you want to make a change to the visual appearance of your graph, remember that we have an ATTRS for that!

If you would like to see how to make attribute changes using a style template, read Dan Heath’s 2017 SAS Global Forum paper, Diving Deep into SAS® ODS Graphics Styles.

PROC SGPLOT: There’s an ATTRS for that was published on SAS Users.

9月 082017

In SAS Visual Analytics 8.1, report creators have the ability to include drive-distance and drive-time in their geographical maps, but only if their site has an Esri ArcGIS Online account and they have valid credentials for the account.

In the user Settings for SAS Visual Analytics Geographic Mapping 8.1 release, there are three choices for selection of a geographic map provider.  The map provider creates the background map for geo maps and for network diagrams that display a map.

The map provider options are:

  • OpenStreet Map service, hosted at SAS.
  • Esri ArGIS Online Services, which only requirFinale acceptance of the terms and conditions.
  • Esri premium services, which requires a credential validation.

If Esri premium services is selected, there is an additional prompt for valid credentials, and you must still accept the Esri ArcGIS Online Services terms in order to select the premium services checkbox.

It’s also worth pointing out here, that even if you have Esri premium credentials, in order for these credentials to be validated in SAS Visual Analytics, you must also be a member of the ESRI Users custom group.  Users can be added to this group in SAS Environment Manager, as shown below.

Note that without the Esri ‘premium’ service and validated credentials, when you right-click and Create geographic selection in your report map, you are only able to select the Distance selection, which displays the radial distance for the selection point.

With premium services in effect, you can also select drive-time or drive-distance.  An example of a drive-time selection is shown here.  Drive-time creates an irregular selection based on the distance that can be driven in the specified amount of time.

A drive-distance example is shown below.  Drive-distance creates an irregular selection based on the driving distance using roads.

When selecting drive-time or drive distance, you can also add breaks to show, as in the example below, the 5-mile distance, the 10-mile distance, and the 15-mile distance on the maps.

It’s also worth pointing out, that if a viewer of the report has not had Esri premium credentials validated, the viewer will be unable to view the drive-distances and drive-time features.  The settings for users of the report viewer are also stored in the Report Viewer Geographic Mapping user settings.

If a user is adding a connection to the server in SAS Mobile BI 8.15 and their account is a member of the Esri Users group, they will be prompted for their Esri premium credentials when adding the server connection:

I hope you’ve found this post helpful.

How do I access the Premium Esri Map Service for my SAS Visual Analytics reports? was published on SAS Users.

8月 212017

The stored compiled macro facility enables you to compile and save your macro definition in a permanent catalog in a library that you specify. The macro is compiled only once. When you call the macro in the current and subsequent SAS® sessions, SAS executes the compiled code from the macro catalog that you created when you compiled the macro.

The stored compiled facility has two main purposes. The first is that it enables your code to run faster because the macro code does not need to be compiled each time it is executed. The second purpose is to help you protect your code. Sometimes you need to share code that you’ve written with other users, but you do not want them to be able to see the code that is being executed. The stored compiled macro facility enables you to share the program without revealing the code. Compiling the macro with the SECURE option prevents the output of the SYMBOLGEN, MPRINT, and MLOGIC macro debugging options from being written to the log when the macro executes. This means that no code is written to the log when the code executes. After the macro has been compiled, there is no way to decompile it to retrieve the source code that created the catalog entry. This behavior prevents the user from being able to retrieve the code. However, it also prevents you from being able to recover the code.

It is very important to remember that there is no way to get back the code from a stored compiled macro. Because of this behavior, you should ALWAYS save your code when creating a stored compiled macro catalog. In order to update a stored compiled macro, you must recompile the macro. The only way to do this is to submit the macro definition again. Another important fact is that a stored compiled macro catalog can be used only on the same operating system and release of SAS that it was created on. So, in order to use a stored compiled macro on another operating system or release of SAS, that macro must be compiled in the new environment. Again, the only way to compile the macro is to resubmit the macro definition.

Save the Macro Source Code

To make it easier for you to save your code, the %MACRO statement contains the SOURCE option. When you create a stored compiled macro, the SOURCE option stores the macro definition as part of a catalog entry in the SASMACR catalog in the permanent SAS library listed on the SASMSTORE= system option.

Here is the syntax needed to create a stored compiled macro with the SOURCE option set:

libname mymacs 'c:\my macro library';   ❶                                                                                                
options mstored sasmstore=mymacs;       ❷                                                                                              
%macro test / store source;             ❸                                                                                                          
  libname mylib1 'path-to-my-first-library';                                                                                            
  libname mylib2 'path-to-my-second-library';                                                                                           


❶ The LIBNAME statement points to the SAS library that will contain my stored compiled macro catalog.

❷ The MSTORED system option enables the stored compiled facility. The SASMSTORE= option points to the libref that points to the macro library.

❸ The STORE option instructs the macro processor to store the compiled version of TEST in the SASMACR catalog in the library listed in the SASMSTORE= system option. The SOURCE option stores the TEST macro definition in the same SASMACR catalog.

Note that the contents of the SASMACR catalog do not contain an entry for the macro source. The source has been combined with the macro entry that contains the compiled macro. To verify that the source has been saved, add the DES= option to the %MACRO statement. The DES= option enables you specify a description for the macro entry in the SASMACR catalog. So for example, you could add the following description when compiling the macro to indicate that the source code has been saved:

%macro test / store source des=’Source code saved with entry’;


You can look at the contents of the macro catalog using the CATALOG procedure:

proc catalog cat=a.sasmacr;                                                                                                            


You see the description indicating that the source code was saved with the macro entry in the output from PROC CATALOG:

Retrieve the Macro Source Code

When you need to update the macro or re-create the catalog on another machine, you can retrieve the macro source code using the %COPY statement. The %COPY statement enables you to retrieve the macro source code and write the code to a file. Here is the syntax:

%copy test / source outfile='c:\my macro library\';


This %COPY statement writes the source code for the TEST macro to the TEST.SAS file. Using TEST.SAS, you are now able to update the macro or compile the macro on another machine.

Remember, you should always save your source code when creating a stored compiled macro. Without the source code, you will not be able to update the macro or move the macro to a new environment.

Here are the relevant links for this article:

Always save your code when creating a stored compiled macro was published on SAS Users.

8月 182017

If you are a SAS administrator managing an environment on UNIX or z/OS, you must use the sas.servers script on a regular basis. As you know, one of its uses is to display the current status of all servers. Is the output accurate? Absolutely. Is it easy to read? Relatively. Is it visually attractive? Not so much.

Human beings are visual creatures. Conventional wisdom says that a picture speaks a thousand words. However, I am not using images to improve the output, but another powerful tool: color. According to this Xerox paper, color captures attention and enhances productivity. It can improve search time, reduce errors, and increase comprehension. As a result, this blog post provides the steps for applying color and an easy-to-read layout to make the sas.servers script look cute and even fun!

Preliminary Steps

Before we begin, it is important to give you some recommendations:

  1. Stop all SAS services.
  2. Backup the files: sas.servers, sas.servers.mid and sas.servers.pre
  3. Apply these changes to a Development or Testing environment.

As a matter of fact, I consider steps 1 and 3 as optional. This script is only used by the SAS platform to start/stop/restart or check the status of the servers. Moreover, if you follow all steps carefully, you can apply these changes safely in a Production environment. In contrast, step 2 is relevant; it is always a good practice to backup essential files before modifying them. In case you need to rollback, you can restore them easily and quickly.

Things to Consider

The About the sas.servers Script section from the SAS 9.4 Intelligence Platform: System Administration Guide provides a caution message: "You should not directly update the sas.servers script." In our case, the type of customization we are about to perform requires a manual update. Don't worry, your script is in good hands.

Furthermore, if you ever need to update the sas.servers script because you want to add/remove a server, you have to run the script to regenerate this file. After doing so, you can lose all the changes made in this post. Keep this in mind, so you can backup the current files before attempting this task.

Easy-to-read Layout

Let's jump into the details. First of all, let's define the new layout of the desired output. Grab your favorite text editor. I use Notepad++ at the office, and Sublime Text at home. Go to your /SASCONFIG/Lev1/ directory and run a regular status command as the sas user. Assuming you followed the preliminary steps and depending on the products installed and the number of SASServers deployed, you should get a similar output:

./sas.servers status
SAS servers status:
SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server is NOT up
SAS Metadata Server 1 is NOT up
SAS Object Spawner 1 is NOT up
SAS DIP Job Runner 1 is NOT up
SAS Information Retrieval Studio Server is NOT up
SAS JMS Broker is NOT up
SAS Cache Locator Service ins_41415 is NOT up
SAS Web Server is NOT up
SAS Web App Server SASServer1_1 is NOT up
SAS Environment Manager is NOT up
SAS Environment Manager Agent is NOT up

Copy that output, except the first line, and paste it into your text editor. Here you can modify the output according to your taste. What I did was to identify the longest line, which is SAS Information Retrieval Studio Server, then I added four spaces to the right and substituted the legend is NOT up for [DOWN]. Likewise, I applied these changes to the rest of the servers, removed the instance number, and kept them all aligned:

SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server         [DOWN]
SAS Metadata Server                        [DOWN]
SAS Object Spawner                         [DOWN]
SAS DIP Job Runner                         [DOWN]
SAS Information Retrieval Studio Server    [DOWN]
SAS JMS Broker                             [DOWN]
SAS Cache Locator Service ins_41415        [DOWN]
SAS Web Server                             [DOWN]
SAS Web App Server SASServer1_1            [DOWN]
SAS Environment Manager                    [DOWN]
SAS Environment Manager Agent              [DOWN]

I chose the pair [ UP ]/[DOWN] to reflect the status because I wanted the look and feel from CentOS 6 boot process. If you are/were a CentOS 6 user, you can remember that the services display the legends: [ OK ] or [FAILED] when booting. You are free to use other alternatives such as ACTIVE/INACTIVE or perhaps RUNNING/STOPPED with or without brackets. Now that the layout is finished, let's move on to the color department.

All You Need Is Color

The fun finally arrived. Let's integrate the layout into our three scripts and add the main ingredient: color!

Again, I am assuming at this stage that you already backed up the files: sas.servers, sas.servers.mid, and sas.servers.pre. Next, open the sas.servers file with your vi editor and add this code anywhere at the top, below the block of comments:

# Custom Colors for status command
# RED   for [DOWN]
# GREEN for [ UP ]
# NC    for No Color

These lines create three variables with three different color codes: a RED variable with code 31, a GREEN variable with code 32, and a NC variable with the default color code. The definition of these variables is optional but recommended, since they help you debug problems or change colors more easily. If you prefer to use different colors or attributes, you can play with the codes as shown in Bash tips: Colors and formatting.

Considering that the sas.servers script does not contain all servers, you have to add the same code to sas.servers.mid and sas.servers.pre files.

First Example

Now that we have defined the three variables in all the necessary files, let's use them. I'll show you how to apply them to a couple of servers, and then you can replicate it to the rest. The first one is the SAS Metadata Server. Open the sas.servers script again and find these lines:

# SAS Metadata Server
SASMETA_WONT_START_OTHERS="The remaining SAS servers will NOT be started as a result."
SASMETA1_IS_UP="SAS Metadata Server 1 is UP"
SASMETA2_IS_UP="SAS Metadata Server 2 is UP"
SASMETA3_IS_UP="SAS Metadata Server 3 is UP"
SASMETA4_IS_UP="SAS Metadata Server 4 is UP"
SASMETA5_IS_UP="SAS Metadata Server 5 is UP"
SASMETA1_IS_DOWN="SAS Metadata Server 1 is NOT up"
SASMETA2_IS_DOWN="SAS Metadata Server 2 is NOT up"
SASMETA3_IS_DOWN="SAS Metadata Server 3 is NOT up"
SASMETA4_IS_DOWN="SAS Metadata Server 4 is NOT up"
SASMETA5_IS_DOWN="SAS Metadata Server 5 is NOT up"

Since I have a single Metadata Server instance, the only meaningful variables are SASMETA1_IS_UP and SASMETA1_IS_DOWN. Delete their values, copy the correct string from your text editor, and paste it in both variables. Fix them accordingly:

SASMETA1_IS_UP="SAS Metadata Server                        [ UP ]"
#more instances
SASMETA1_IS_DOWN="SAS Metadata Server                        [DOWN]"
#more instances

The final touch is to give color to our script. Use the GREEN and RED variables for the UP/DOWN statuses. It is important to include the NC variable at the end to remove all attributes:

SASMETA1_IS_UP="SAS Metadata Server                        [ ${GREEN}UP${NC} ]"
#more instances
SASMETA1_IS_DOWN="SAS Metadata Server                        [${RED}DOWN${NC}]"
#more instances

Second Example

The process is the same for all the servers defined in the sas.servers script. For the other two scripts it is a little different, but still quite easy. I am going to use the SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server as the second example. Open the sas.servers.pre script and look for the server_status() function. Pay attention to these lines:

       if [ $? -eq 0 ]; then
          # Server is already running
          echo "SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server is UP"
          echo "SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server is NOT up"
      echo "SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server is NOT up"

A subtle difference from the previous example is the echo command. In the sas.servers script, there is a logmsg() function that uses the "echo -e" command behind the scenes. In this case, we have to explicitly add the -e option to enable the interpretation of backslash escapes. Let's also integrate the color and layout:

          echo -e "SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server         [ ${GREEN}UP${NC} ]"
          echo -e "SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server         [${RED}DOWN${NC}]"
      echo -e "SAS Web Infrastructure Data Server         [${RED}DOWN${NC}]"

At this point, with the above examples, you should have a solid idea about the required changes to accomplish our goal. Now it is your turn to apply them to the rest of the servers.

Finished Product

If you followed this article in detail and performed the steps in all the required servers, your output should resemble mine:

Get the green light by running the start command:

Final Thoughts

I am a visual person with a curious mind. One of the things I like is to customize the tools I use the most, so I decided to make the sas.servers script output a little more attractive to my eyes. I hope you liked the result. If you are still not sure whether to implement this idea or not, let's suppose there are some problems with a couple of servers in your environment and they stop running. Which output would you rather look at? Which one is easier to spot an issue? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or even better you can share your creative outputs!

Making the sas.servers script look pretty was published on SAS Users.

8月 182017

SAS Viya deployments use credentials for accessing databases and other third-party products that require authentication. In this blog post, I will look at how this sharing of credentials is implemented in SAS Environment Manager.

In SAS Viya, domains are used to store the:

  • Credentials required to access external data sources.
  • Identities that are allowed to use those credentials.

There are three types of domains:

  • Authentication stores credentials that are used to access an external source that can then be associated with a caslib.
  • Connection used when the external database has been set up to require a User ID but no password.
  • Encryption stores an encryption key required to read data at rest in a path assigned to a caslib.

In this blog post we will focus on authentication domains which are typically used to provide access to data in a database management system. It is a pretty simple concept; an authentication domain makes a set of credentials available to a set of users. This allows SAS Viya to seamlessly access a resource. The diagram below shows a logical view of a domain. In this example, the domain PGAuth stores the credentials for a Postgres database, and makes those credentials available to two groups (and their members) and three users.

How does this work when a user accesses data in a database caslib? The following steps are performed:

1.     Log on to SAS Viya using personal credentials: the user’s identity is established including group memberships.

2.     Access a CASLIB for a database: using the user’s identity and the authentication domain of the CASLIB, Viya will look up the credentials associated with that identity in the domain.

3.     Two results are possible. A credential match is:

  • 1.     Found: the credentials are passed to the database authentication provider to determine access to the data.
  • 2.     Not found: no access to the data is provided.

To manage domains in SAS Environment Manager you must be an administrator. In SAS Environment Manager select Security > Domains. There are two views available:  Domains and Credentials. The Domains view lists all defined domains. You can access the credentials for a domain by right-clicking on the domain and selecting Credentials.

The Credentials view lists all credentials defined and the domains for which they are associated.

Whatever way you get to a credential, you can edit it by right-clicking and selecting Edit. In the edit dialog, you can specify the Identities (users and groups) that can use the credential, and the User ID and Password of the credential.  Note that only users who are already listed in the Identities field will be able to edit this field, so make sure you are in this field (directly or through group membership) prior to saving.

To use an authentication domain, you reference it in the CASLIB definition. When defining a non-path based CASLIB you must select a domain to provide user credentials to connect to the database server. This can be done when creating a new CASLIB in SAS Environment Manager in the Data > Libraries area.

If you use code to create or access your caslib, use the authenticationdomain option. In this example, we specify authenticationdomain in the table.addcaslib action.

If a user is not attached to the authentication domain directly, or through a group membership, they will not be able to access the credentials. An error will occur when they attempt to access the data.

This has been a brief look at storing and using credentials to access databases from SAS Viya. You can find  more detail in the SAS Viya Administration Guide in the section titled SAS Viya sharing credentials for database access was published on SAS Users.

8月 172017

In this blog post I am going to cover the example of importing data into SAS Viya using Cloud Analytic Services (CAS) actions via REST API. For example, you may want to import data into a CASLib via REST API.  This means you can perform an import of data outside of the SAS Self-Service Import user interface environment using REST API.  Once this data is loaded into CAS it is available for use in applications such as SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Data Builder.


To import data into SAS Viya via REST API, you need to make a series of REST API calls:

1.     Start CAS Session
2.     Load Data into a CASLib
3.     End CAS Session

I will walk through these various REST API calls in the sections below using the REST API testing application HTTPRequestor, which is a free add-on to the Mozilla Firefox browser.

Before I perform any of my REST API calls, I need to Base-64 encode my credentials. The input for encoding the credentials is: I used the site to encode my credentials.  Note: You can use other methods (e.g., Python) to encode your credentials. Use the preferred method by your organization to ensure you are meeting their security protocols.

Below is the header Authorization information I will be sending with each of my requests.

Authorization Header

1.     Start CAS Session

First, I need to start a CAS Session. Below is an example request for starting a CAS Session:

POST https://&lt;YourCASServer:Port&gt;/cas/sessions

Authorization: Basic &lt;Base-64EncodedCredentials&gt;
 Content-Type: application/json


This request returns the CASSessionUUID needed in the next step.

I construct my request in HTTPRequestor as follows and submit the request:

Start CAS Session Request/Response

Here is a screenshot of the raw transaction information.

Start CAS Session Raw Transaction

I need to copy the CAS Session UUID information that was returned for use in the subsequent REST API calls since their CAS Actions must be performed within a CAS Session.

2.     Load Data into a CASLib

Now that I have started my CAS session and have its UUID, I can load the table to CAS. Below is an example request for the table.loadTable CAS Action:


Authorization: Basic &lt;Base-64EncodedCredentials&gt;
 Content-Type: application/json



This request returns a log message: “NOTE: Cloud Analytic Services made the file <InputFilePathAndName> available as table <OutputTableName> in caslib <OutputCASLib>.”

For my example, I will load the SAS data set BASEBALL located in the helpdata CASLib to the Public CASLib and call the CAS Table SAS_BASEBALL.  I am copying the data to the Public CASLib to make it more readily available to all CAS users. Let’s first confirm that the SAS_BASEBALL table does not currently exist in the Public CASLib.

Public CASLib Before LoadTable CAS Action Called

I construct my request in HTTPRequestor as follows and submit the request:

Load Table Request/Response

Here is a screenshot of the raw transaction information.

Load Table Raw Transaction

Next, I will confirm that the SAS_BASEBALL data set is now loaded in the Public CASLib.

Public CASLib After LoadTable CAS Action Called

The SAS_BASEBALL data set is now available for use in applications such as SAS Visual Analytics and SAS Visual Data Builder.

3.     End CAS Session

Finally, I need to terminate my CAS Session. Below is an example request for the session.endSession CAS Action:

POST https://&lt;YourCASServer:Port&gt;/cas/sessions/&lt;CASSessionUUID&gt;/actions/session.endSession

Authorization: Basic &lt;Base-64EncodedCredentials&gt;
 Content-Type: application/json



This request returns a status of 0 indicating there was no error and the CASSessionUUID specified in the request has ended.

I construct my request in HTTPRequestor as follows and submit the request:

End CAS Session Request/Response

Here is a screenshot of the raw transaction information.

End CAS Session Raw Transaction


These calls can be strung together so you could schedule their execution. For more information on SAS Viya and REST APIs, refer to the following documentation the SAS Cloud Analytics REST API documentation.

Load Data into SAS Viya via REST API was published on SAS Users.

8月 152017

CAS data modelingThe CAS physical data model, i.e.what features CAS offers for data storage, and how to use them to maximize performance in CAS (and consequently SAS Visual Analytics 8.1 too).

So, specifically let’s answer the question:

What CAS physical table storage features can we use to get better performance in CAS and SAS Visual Analytics/CAS?

CAS Physical Table Storage Features

The following data storage features affect how CAS tables are physically structured:

  • Compression
  • Partitioning
  • Sorting
  • Repeated Tables
  • Extended Data Types (Varchar)
  • User Defined Formats

Compression — the Storage Option that Degrades Performance

data public.MegaCorp (compress=yes);
   set baselib.MegaCorp;

Partitioning and Sorting

Partitioning is a powerful tool for improving Bar Charts, Decision Tree, Linear Regression) provide grouping as well as classification functionality.

When performing analyses/processing, CAS first groups the data into the required BY-groups. Pre-partitioning on commonly-used BY-groups means CAS can skip this step, vastly improving performance.

Within partitions, tables can be sorted by non-partition-key variables. Pre-sorting by natural ordering variables (e.g. time) allows CAS to skip the ordering step in many cases just like partitioning allows CAS to skip the grouping step.

For a full use-case, consider a line graph that groups sales by region and plots by date. This graph object would benefit greatly from a CAS table that is pre-partitioned by region and pre-sorted by date.

Join Optimization

Partitioning can also support join operations since both the CAS FedSQL Merge Join algorithm utilize BY-GROUP operations to support their processing.

Pre-partitioning tables in anticipation of joins will greatly improve join performance. A good use case is partitioning both a large transaction table and an equally large reference table (e.g. an enormous Customer table) by the common field, customerID. When a DATA Step MERGE or a FedSQL join is performed between the two tables on that field, the join/merge will take advantage of partitioning for the BY-GROUP operation resulting in something similar to a partition-wise join.

Like Compression, partitioning and sorting can be implemented via CAS actions as well as data set options. Using the data set options is demonstrated below:

data mycas.bigOrderTable (partition=(region division) orderby=(year quarter month));
   set CASorBase.bigOrderTable;

Repeated Tables

By default, in distributed CAS Server deployments, CAS divides incoming tables into blocks and distributes those blocks among its DUPLICATE data set option or the Repeated Tables have two main use-cases in CAS:

1.     Join Optimization
2.     Small Table Operation Optimization

Join Optimization

For join operations, the default data distribution scheme can result in significant network traffic as matching records from the two tables travel between worker nodes to meet. If one of the two tables was created with the DUPLICATE/REPEAT option, then every possible record from that table is available on every node to the other table. There is no need for any network traffic.

Small Table Operation Optimization

For small tables, even single table operations can perform better with repeated instead of divided distribution. LASR actually implemented the “High Volume Access to Smaller Tables” feature for the same reason. When a table is repeated, CAS runs any required operation on a single worker node against the full copy of the table that resides there, instead of distributing the work.

As stated, repeated tables can be implemented with the DUPLICATE data set option, it can also be implemented with the REPEAT option on the PROC CASUTIL LOAD statement. The CASUTIL method is shown below:

proc casutil ;
   load data=sashelp.prdsale outcaslib=”caspath”
           casout=”prdsale” replace REPEAT ;
quit ;

Extended Data Types (VARCHAR)

With Viya 3.2 comes SAS’ first widespread implementation of variable length character fields. While Base SAS offers variable length character fields through compression, Viya 3.2 is the first major SAS release to include a save storage space, it also improves performance by reducing the size of the record being processed. CAS, like any other processing engine, will process narrower records more quickly than wide records.

User Defined Formats

User defined formats (UDFs) exist in CAS in much the same way they do in Base SAS. Their primary function, of course, is to provide display formatting for raw data values. Think about a format for direction. The raw data might be: “E”, “W”, “N”, “S” while the corresponding format values might be “East”, “West”, “North”, “South.”

So how might user defined formats improve performance in CAS? The same way they do in Base SAS, and the same way that VARCHAR does, by reducing the size of the record that CAS has to process. Imagine replacing multiple 200 byte description fields with 1 byte codes. If you had 10 such fields, the record length would decrease 1990 bytes ((10 X 200) – 10). This is an extreme example but it illustrates the point: User defined formats can reduce the amount of data that CAS has to process and, consequently, will lead to performance gains.

CAS data modeling for performance was published on SAS Users.

8月 052017

free trial of SAS Viya productsIt's a common mantra many parents use to encourage their children to expand their food choices and try something new. Even as adults we’re often more comfortable easing into the unfamiliar, taking small bites, tiny samples, even dipping a toe in the water before diving in headfirst.

Software is no different.

We’ve introduced trials of our latest products – and we encourage you to test them out, see what they are like and consider how they could benefit you and your organization.

SAS is currently offering a free trial of SAS Viya products. The latest evolution of the SAS platform. SAS Viya is a new engine, driving fast analytic answers for more data types, introducing new products, and accessible to those who code in SAS, use other coding languages – or prefer an interactive interface. Extending SAS 9, customers are enjoying the benefits, running existing code faster, adding new machine learning methods into existing SAS analysis and solving entirely new business questions – all from one, governed platform.

To help you learn more about this modernization of the SAS platform, we are now offering product trials at no cost and with no installation necessary. They even come with test data to deliver a complete experience. To start your free trial of SAS Viya products, just sign up at ‘Try It for Free’ – and choose your analytics trial experience. You’ll use your existing SAS profile – or create one if you don’t already have one – to register and get started. In just a couple of minutes after we receive your request, we’ll send you a link with instructions, videos and step-by-step scripts you can follow to sign onto your SAS-hosted image. All you need is a web browser and a little curiosity and you’re on your way to expanding your analytics arsenal.

So, what do you say? Try it… we know you’ll like it.

Try it - you'll like it... was published on SAS Users.

8月 022017

In my prior posts (Data-driven SAS macro loops, Modifying variable attributes in all datasets of a SAS library, Automating the loading of multiple database tables into SAS tables), I presented various data-driven applications using SAS macro loops.

However, macro loops are not the only tools available in SAS for developing data-driven programs.

CALL EXECUTE is one of them. The CALL EXECUTE routine accepts a single argument that is a character string or character expression. The character expression is usually a concatenation of strings containing SAS code elements to be executed after they have been resolved. Components of the argument expression can be character constants, data step variables, macro variable reference, as well as macro references. CALL EXECUTE dynamically builds SAS code during DATA step iterations; that code executes after the DATA step’s completion outside its boundary. This makes a DATA step iterating through a driver table an effective SAS code generator similar to that of SAS macro loops.

However, the rather peculiar rules of the CALL EXECUTE argument resolution may make its usage somewhat confusing. Let’s straighten things out.

Argument string has no macro or macro variable reference

If an argument string to the CALL EXECUTE contains SAS code without any macro or macro variable references, that code is simply pushed out (of the current DATA step) and appended to a queue after the current DATA step. As the DATA step iterates, the code is appended to the queue as many times as there are iterations of the DATA step. After the DATA step completes, the code in the queue gets executed in the order of its creation (First In First Out).

The beauty of this process is that the argument string can be a concatenation of character constants (in single or double quotes) and SAS variables which get substituted with their values by CALL EXECUTE for each DATA step iteration. This will produce data-driven, dynamically generated SAS code just like an iterative SAS macro loop.

Let’s consider the following example. Say we need to load multiple Oracle tables into SAS tables.

Step 1. Creating a driver table

In order to make our process data-driven, let’s first create a driver table containing a list of the table names that needed to be extracted and loaded:

/* create a list of tables to extract & load */
libname parmdl '/sas/data/parmdata';
data parmdl.tablelist;
        length tname $8;
        input tname;

This program runs just once to create the driver table parmdl.tablelist.

Step 2. Loading multiple tables

Then, you can use the following data-driven program that runs each time you need to reload Oracle tables into SAS:

/* source ORACLE library */
libname oralib oracle path="xxx" schema="yyy" user="uuu"
 	PASSWORD="{SAS002}ABCDEFG12345678RTUR" access=readonly;
/* target SAS library */
libname sasdl '/sas/data/appdata';
/* driver table SAS library */
libname parmdl '/sas/data/parmdata';
data _null_;
   set parmdl.tablelist;
   call execute(cats(
      'data sasdl.',tname,';',
         'set oralib.',tname,';',

In order to concatenate the components of the CALL EXECUTE argument I used the cats() SAS function which returns a concatenated character string removing leading and trailing blanks.

When this program runs, the SAS log indicates that after the data _null_ step the following statements are added and executed:

NOTE: CALL EXECUTE generated line.
1   + data sasdl.ADDRESS;set oralib.ADDRESS;run;
2   + data sasdl.ACCOUNT;set oralib.ACCOUNT;run;
3   + data sasdl.BENEFIT;set oralib.BENEFIT;run;
4   + data sasdl.FINANCE;set oralib.FINANCE;run;
5   + data sasdl.HOUSING;set oralib.HOUSING;run;

In this example we use data _null_ step to loop through the list of tables (parmdl.tablelist) and for each value of the tname column a new data step gets generated and executed after the data _null_ step. The following diagram illustrates the process:

Diagram explaining CALL EXECUTE for SAS data-driven programming

Argument string has macro variable reference in double quotes

If an argument to the CALL EXECUTE has macro variable references in double quotes, they will be resolved by the SAS macro pre-processor during the DATA step compilation. Nothing unusual. For example, the following code will execute exactly as the above, and macro variable references &olib and &slib will be resolved to oralib and sasdl before CALL EXECUTE takes any actions:

%let olib = oralib;
%let slib = sasdl;
data _null_;
   set parmdl.tablelist;
   call execute (
      "data &slib.."!!strip(tname)!!';'
         "set &olib.."!!strip(tname)!!';'!!

Argument string has macro or macro variable reference in single quotes

Here comes the interesting part. If the argument to CALL EXECUTE has macro or macro variable references in single quotes, they still will be resolved before the code is pushed out of the DATA step, but not by the SAS macro pre-processor during the DATA step compilation as it was in the case of double quotation marks. Macro or macro variable references in single quotes will be resolved by CALL EXECUTE itself. For example, the following code will execute exactly as the above, but macro variable references &olib and &slib will be resolved by CALL EXECUTE:

%let olib = oralib;
%let slib = sasdl;
data _null_;
   set parmdl.tablelist;
   call execute('data &slib..'!!strip(tname)!!';'!!
                'set &olib..'!!strip(tname)!!';'!!

Timing considerations

CAUTION: If your macro contains some non-macro language constructs for assigning macro variables during run time, such as a CALL SYMPUT or SYMPUTX statement (in a DATA step) or an INTO clause (in PROC SQL), resolving those macro variable references by CALL EXECUTE will happen too soon, before your macro-generated code gets pushed out and executed. This will result in unresolved macro variables. Let’s run the following code that should extract Oracle tables into SAS tables as above, but also re-arrange column positions to be in alphabetical order:

%macro onetable (tblname);
   proc contents data=oralib.&tblname out=one(keep=name) noprint;
   proc sql noprint;
      select name into :varlist separated by ' ' from one;
   %put &=varlist;
   data sasdl.&tblname;
      retain &varlist;
      set oralib.&tblname end=last nobs=n;
      if last then call symput('n',strip(put(n,best.)));
   %put Table &tblname has &n observations.;
%mend onetable;
data _null_;
   set parmdl.tablelist;
   call execute('%onetable('!!strip(tname)!!');');

Predictably, the SAS log will show unresolved macro variable references, such as:

WARNING: Apparent symbolic reference VARLIST not resolved.
WARNING: Apparent symbolic reference N not resolved.
Table ADDRESS has &n observations.

SOLUTION: To avoid the timing issue when a macro reference gets resolved by CALL EXECUTE too soon, before macro variables have been assigned during macro-generated step execution, we can strip CALL EXECUTE of the macro resolution privilege. In order to do that, we can mask & and % characters using the %nrstr macro function, thus making CALL EXECUTE “macro-blind,” so it will push the macro code out without resolving it. In this case, macro resolution will happen after the DATA step where CALL EXECUTE resides. If an argument to CALL EXECUTE has a macro invocation, then including it in the %nrstr macro function is the way to go. The following code will run just fine:

data _null_;
   set parmdl.tablelist;
   call execute('%nrstr(%onetable('!!strip(tname)!!'));');

When this DATA step runs, the SAS log indicates that the following statements are added and executed:

NOTE: CALL EXECUTE generated line.
1   + %onetable(ADDRESS);
2   + %onetable(ACCOUNT);
3   + %onetable(BENEFIT);
4   + %onetable(FINANCE);
5   + %onetable(HOUSING);

CALL EXECUTE argument is a SAS variable

The argument to CALL EXECUTE does not necessarily have to contain or be a character constant. It can be a SAS variable, a character variable to be precise. In this case, the behavior of CALL EXECUTE is the same as when the argument is a string in single quotes. It means that if a macro reference is part of the argument value it needs to be masked using the %nrstr() macro function in order to avoid the timing issue mentioned above.

In this case, the argument to the CALL EXECUTE may look like this:

arg = '%nrstr(%mymacro(parm1=VAL1,parm2=VAL2))';
call execute(arg);

Making CALL EXECUTE totally data-driven

In the examples above we used the tablelist driver table to retrieve values for a single macro parameter for each data step iteration. However, we can use a driver table not only to dynamically assign values to one or more macro parameters, but also to control which macro to execute in each data step iteration. The following diagram illustrates the process of totally data-driven SAS program:

Diagram explaining using CALL EXECUTE for SAS data-driven programming


CALL EXECUTE is a powerful tool for developing dynamic data-driven SAS applications. Hopefully, this blog post demonstrates its benefits and clearly explains how to avoid its pitfalls and use it efficiently to your advantage. I welcome your comments, and would love to hear your experiences with CALL EXECUTE.

CALL EXECUTE made easy for SAS data-driven programming was published on SAS Users.