Last week I described how to use PROC IOMOPERATE to list the active SAS sessions that have been spawned in your SAS environment. I promised that I would share a custom task that simplifies the technique. Today I'm sharing that task with you.
How to get the SAS Spawned Processes task
You can download the task from this SAS communities topic, where I included it as an attachment. The instructions for installation are standard for any custom task; the details are included in the README file that is part of the task package.
You can also view and pull the source code for the task from my GitHub repository. I built it using Microsoft .NET and C#.
How to use the SAS Spawned Processes task
Once you have the task installed, you can access it from the Tools->Add-In menu in SAS Enterprise Guide. (By the way, the task should also work in the SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office -- though the installation instructions are a little different.)
The task works by using PROC IOMOPERATE to connect to the SAS Object Spawner. You'll need to provide the connection information (host and port) plus the user/password for an account that has the appropriate permissions (usually a SAS admin account). Note that the port value is that of the Object Spawner operator port (by default, 8581) and not the SAS Metadata Server.
The task shows a list of active SAS processes. Of course, you're using a SAS process to even run the task, so your active process is shown with a yellow highlight. You can select any of the processes in the list and select End Process to stop it. You can drill into more detail for any selected process with the Show Details button. Here's an example of more process details:
Did you try the task? How did it work for you? Let me know here or in the SAS communities.
Custom task features within this example
If you're professionally interested in how to build custom tasks, this example shows several techniques that implement common requirements. Use the source code as a reference to review how these are built (and of course you can always refer to my custom tasks book for more guidance).
- Submit a SAS program in the background with the SasSubmitter class. There are two examples of this in the task. The first example is an asynchronous submit to get the list of processes, where control returns to the UI and you have the option to cancel if it takes too long. With an asynch submit, there are some slightly tricky threading maneuvers you need to complete to show the results in the task. The second example uses a synchronous submit (SubmitSasProgramAndWait) to stop a selected SAS process.
- Read a SAS data set. The SAS program that retrieves a list of processes places that result in a SAS data set. This task uses the SAS OLE DB provider to open the data set and read the fields in each row, so it can populate the list view within the task.
- Detect errors and show the SAS log. If the SAS programs used by the task generate any errors (for example, if you supply the wrong credentials), the task uses a simple control (SAS.Tasks.Toolkit.Controls.SASLogViewDialog) to show the SAS log -- color-coded so the error is easy to spot.
- Retrieve the value of a SAS macro variable by using SasServer.GetSasMacroValue("SYSJOBID"). This pulls the process ID for your active SAS session, so I can compare it to those retrieved by PROC IOMOPERATE. That's how I know which list item to highlight in yellow.
- Save and restore settings between uses. Entering credentials is a drag, so the task uses a helper class (SAS.Tasks.Toolkit.Helpers.TaskUserSettings) to save your host/port/user information to a local file in your Windows profile. When you use the task again, the saved values are placed into the fields for you. I don't save the password -- I'm sure that I'd get complaints if I did that, even if I encoded it.