Here are a few new interface and graphics changes that every SAS programmer should know about SAS 9.3:
- HTML is now the default output destination when you run the SAS windowing environment. This means that tables and graphs appear in an HTML document instead of the classic LISTING destination. Of course, you can get the older output by using the ODS LISTING statement, but I encourage you to give the HTML destination a test drive. Personally, I'm hooked and won't go back! (See the end of this post for the new look.)
- A second major change is that ODS statistical graphics are now part of Base SAS! This will have a huge impact because it brings the power of the SG procedures (SGPLOT, SGPANEL,...) and the Graph Template Language (GTL) to thousands of SAS programmers who have never used modern SAS graphics.
- And speaking of statistical graphics, ODS GRAPHICS are on by default in SAS 9.3. This means that SAS users will automatically see graphs produced by SAS/STAT procedures such as PROC REG. One consequence: SAS loads and initializes the ODS graphics system the first time such a procedure runs. This might require several seconds, so be sure to pre-load ODS graphics if you are giving a demo!
- "Drats," I hear you saying, "all those graphs are going to clutter my hard drive!" But, no! By default, graphs are no longer saved in the SAS current directory; they are saved in the WORK library. Result: when you exit SAS all those graphs vanish in a virtual puff.
- There are several new plot statements in the SGPLOT and SGPANEL procedures. My favorite is the LINEPARM statement, which enables you to create reference lines more easily than was possible in SAS 9.2. A close second place is the addition of options to the HISTOGRAM statement that provide greater control over bin widths.
What are your favorite new features? Browse the What's New in SAS 9.3 document and let me know.