The Creeps

I realize that Halloween is a week behind us, but thinking of some of things I saw last week I still get the creeps. For example, we had a pumpkin decorating contest here in our building at SAS. Well, one contestant called their pumpkin “The Rat” – and on the outside of the pumpkin there were two, large plastic snakes. You were invited to lift the lid off this pumpkin and look inside, but honestly, those snakes were so realistic they gave me the creeps and I couldn’t get near it (looks gross, doesn't it?).

Every now and again, I see ways of programming creeping into my everyday life and sometimes it makes me laugh, while other times I just have to shake my head. You know you might be “enjoying” programming a little too much when you start sending if – then scenarios written in SAS code in personal emails!

Our assignment this week was to cover Chapter 2 in the Certification Prep Guide and the correlating chapter in Ron Cody’s book, Learning SAS by Example which was chapter 4. The main topic of these chapters were referencing files and creating permanent data sets. While the consensus was that the Prep Guide was just a tad dry, we found Cody’s book to give us the clarification that I know I needed. Thanks Ron for writing a book that makes learning SAS a little bit easier.

This week in our study group session we spent some time discussing data null. There was some confusion as to whether or not this step was used that much in the real-world, so today we are asking you to give us a simple example of when you use this step. It was later explained to me by someone with years of programming experience the benefits of using this step; mainly, the fact that by using data null you are not using disk space to generate a new dataset. While the creation of a new dataset isn’t that big of a deal in a classroom environment when our data is small, I image that when your data sets are larger it makes a huge difference.

So, share with us your simple, real-world application for data null and let us know how SAS programming is creeping into your life outside of work.

One Comment

  1. AnnMaria
    Posted November 6, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I used to use DATA NULL a lot with the FILE PRINT command to create customized output back when Proc Report and Tabulate were new, untested ideas. That was a LONG time ago (decades). I quit using it in favor of tabulate mostly and now that there are ODS files of all types and all sorts of options for tables in Enterprise Guide, I don't have much need to use DATA NULL at all.

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    I’m Maggie Miller and I’ll be providing you the latest updates about SAS books, documentation, tips and industry trends here on the SAS Bookshelf. Follow along with my talented colleagues, and guest posters as we bring the written word to life and share helpful content with our fellow SAS book enthusiasts.
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