Last week I presented two talks at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, which has established a new Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Analysis Using SAS. While in Milwaukee, I ran into an old friend: the ODS LISTING destination.
One of my presentations was a hands-on workshop titled Getting Started with the SAS/IML Language. In the UW-M computer lab, the students used SAS/IML Studio to run the exercises. I noticed that the student output was produced in the ODS LISTING destination, whereas my laptop was generating output for the HTML destination. That is, in the following screen capture, I was generating the output on the right side, whereas the student output looked like the left side (click to enlarge the image):
As I wandered through the lab, watching the students complete the exercises, I realized that I have grown accustomed to the HTML destination. HTML became the default ODS destination for the SAS Windowing environment in SAS 9.3. SAS/IML Studio made HTML the default destination in SAS 9.3m2, which shipped in August 2012. Thus I have been seeing HTML output exclusively for about a year.
I now prefer the HTML output, but when SAS 9.3 changed the default destination from LISTING to HTML, I had mixed feelings. The LISTING destination was an old friend, and I didn't want to see it move away. We had had good times together through the years.
However, I embraced the change. I did not override the new default when I installed SAS 9.3, and I gritted through the first few weeks of working with the HTML output. I discovered several benefits to the HTML destination, including the fact that that HTML output is "infinitely wide," and is therefore valuable when working with large matrices or wide tables. No more worrying about matrices wrapping when the output is wider than the LINESIZE option!
As I looked at the student output in the computer lab, I realized that I have made a new friend: the HTML destination. I like having it around when I work. I enjoy its beautiful tables and its integrated and interlaced ODS graphics.
When I encountered my old friend, the LISTING destination, in Milwaukee, I got the same feeling that I get when I play a classic video game like Pong, Space Invaders, or Asteroids: I briefly enjoy the nostalgic experience, but I realize that newer technology makes for a more enjoyable overall experience.
What is your default ODS destination in SAS? Are you still clinging to the LISTING destination? Have you converted to using HTML output? Why or why not? Share your story in the comments.