Extending SAS BI clients with custom tasks

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Despite my evangelization efforts, this is still one of the best kept secrets about SAS Enterprise Guide: you can create your own tasks. (These also work within the SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office.)

So I'm taking the evangelization to a new level: I've been writing a book on the topic. From the draft introduction:

For over 30 years, people have been writing SAS programs to solve business problems, conduct research, and report on data. For almost as long, the people who use those SAS programs have strived to invent ways to make those programs approachable by non-programmers, reusable, and adaptable to changing business processes. 

Custom tasks provide one way to leverage your SAS processes and make them usable by a wide audience. They are a hook for extending SAS Enterprise Guide and SAS Add-In for Microsoft Office – two popular desktop applications that bring the power of SAS to a wide range of users. If you work with SAS users who use these applications as their primary interface to SAS, then custom tasks provide a way to bring your SAS-based solutions to them, without asking them to leave the environment that they know and love.

Custom tasks are the easiest and most natural way for end users to access proprietary processes. However, they also require significant investment in time and expertise to create. In most cases, the return on investment – realized in consistency, control, and ease of use – far outweighs the cost of developing these tasks.


If this book doesn't do the job, I might have to produce a feature-length movie.

The book project is listed in the SAS Press "Under Contract" section. I'm hoping to use this blog as a place to air a few of the ideas and concepts, and perhaps gather some feedback from potential readers. Interested? Let me know by leaving a comment.

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Chris Hemedinger

Senior Manager, SAS Online Communities

+Chris Hemedinger is the manager of SAS Online Communities. He’s also co-author of the popular SAS for Dummies book, author of Custom Tasks for SAS Enterprise Guide using Microsoft .NET, and a frequent participant on the SAS Enterprise Guide discussion forum.

12 Comments

  1. Alan Churchill on

    I will be one of the 1st to buy it. I think this is a great idea and I am looking forward to seeing it in print.

    Congrats.

    Alan

  2. I agree with Alan. I would suggest to dedicate a chapter towards which tools (C#, .net) are used, set up (for SAS Savvyy folks who have not yet venture too far into the C# or .net world), which tool versions used, etc. I think that will answer a lot of beginner question (of tool use not programming) and encourage participation.

  3. I will buy one too when it's avaible. Being a technical support guy, I need special tools like this to secure the job.

    If we can do this like what we do in making Addins for Excel, then we can deliver our works in EG.

    I also agree with Rafi that there should be information about the tools to use, hoping that I don't have to learn other new languages.

  4. One more thing to add, I am very interested in the progress of writing this book. I am surprised that we do not see much more replies on the blog, however, would like to continue encoiuraging the author to keep going ...

  5. Daniel Collins on

    Like Rafi, I look forward to the book and agree plenty of detail about the tools, API's, functions etc is essential.

    I'm sure that increased use of custom tasks will accelerate the productivity of EG users and the popularity of EG.

    Any update on expected timing, and whether it will be available as an eBook ?

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