How old is your version of SAS software? The graph on the left shows the release dates for various releases of SAS software, beginning with SAS 8.0. The graph is based on a graph on Jiangtang Hu's blog that shows the major SAS releases.
As this graph demonstrates, SAS software is always evolving. Each release includes features that simplify tasks that used to be more difficult. For example, this graph demonstrates a new feature of SAS 9.4: The colors in the background of the graph are specified by using the STYLEATTRS statement in the SGPLOT procedure. This new feature makes creating the graph easier and faster. Earlier versions of SAS required a more complicated syntax to specify colors for groups.
I remember a SAS user once asked me how to compute some quantity in SAS. But before I could respond, he added, "By the way, I'm still running SAS 9.1."
That addendum certainly changed my response. The solution in SAS 9.1 was complicated. A feature added to SAS 9.2 simplifies the solution. Unfortunately, the customer could not yet take advantage of the simpler approach.
At SAS Global Forum 2012, Senior Vice President of R&D Keith Collins invited the attendees to "come along with us" as SAS releases new versions of its software. Of course, in large corporations, this is sometimes easier said than done. However, if you want to start a conversation at your company about upgrading to a more recent version of SAS, this graph helps to put the SAS release numbers in a historical context.
/* Approximate ship dates for major releases of SAS software. Ignore the day: 01JUN just means "some day in June" */ data Releases; format Date DATE7.; input Category $13. Release $9. Date DATE9. StatRelease $5.; datalines; Ancient 8.0 01Nov1999 Ancient 8.1 01Jul2000 Ancient 8.2 01Mar2001 Ancient 9.0 01Oct2002 Ancient 9.1 01Dec2003 Ancient 9.1.3 01Aug2004 Ancient 9.2 01Mar2008 9.2 Ancient 9.2m2 01Apr2010 9.22 Ancient 9.3 12Jul2011 9.3 Ancient 9.3m2 29Aug2012 12.1 Old 9.4 10Jul2013 12.3 Old 9.4m1 15Dec2013 13.1 Old 9.4m2 05Aug2014 13.2 Modern 9.4m3 14Jul2015 14.1 Modern 9.4m4 16Nov2016 14.2 Modern 9.4m5 19Sep2017 14.3 Recent 9.4m6 20Nov2018 15.1 Recent 9.4m7 18Aug2020 15.2 Recent 9.4m8 31Jan2023 15.3 ; title "Major Releases of SAS Software and Analytical Products"; proc sgplot data=Releases noautolegend; styleattrs datacolors=(red orange yellow green); block x=date block=category / transparency = 0.8; scatter x=date y=release / datalabel=StatRelease datalabelpos=right markerattrs=(symbol=CircleFilled size=14); xaxis grid type=time offsetmin=0.05 offsetmax=0.05 min='01JAN2000'd; yaxis type=discrete offsetmax=0.1; run;
Editor's Note: This article only covers the releases of traditional SAS software. The first release of SAS Viya (3.0) was 16Jun2016. SAS Viya 3.x culminated in Viya 3.5, which was released in 2019. Starting in 2020, SAS began releasing Viya in monthly cadences so that Viya customers can more easily access the latest features.
Editor's Note: This post was revised in January 2023 to include the latest release of SAS software.