Uncovering the hidden parts of the SAS log


Before there was CNN or FOX News, people used to get their news from SAS.

At least, that's how I imagine that people kept themselves informed. What else can explain the existence of the NEWS= system option, which helps SAS admins to surface the must-know information to the SAS community?

I didn't pay much attention to the NEWS option until a customer asked that we support it within SAS Enterprise Guide. He wanted his users to see a particular message when they started a new SAS Enterprise Guide session, and it seemed to him that the NEWS option was the best way to share those critical news bulletins with his constituents.

After a bit of research, we learned that most SAS admins prefer to use more modern methods to keep their users in the loop: e-mail, company intranets, tweets, Facebook postings -- anything but the SAS log. ("You missed the department luncheon? What's the matter, don't you read your SAS logs?")

Still, the request did surface a gap in the product. The NEWS option emits its messages in the SAS log when SAS initializes, but SAS Enterprise Guide users didn't have any easy method to view this startup portion of the log. In addition to spreading the NEWS, this part of the SAS log shows the activity that happens in the AUTOEXEC initialization, including library assignments, automatic macro processing, and more.

We promptly added this capability to SAS Enterprise Guide 4.3. Here's how you can see it:

In the Server List, right-click on the SAS server of interest and select Properties. (Note: the server must be connected -- that is, started -- before there is any log to view. So expand the server's node in the list if you haven't yet connected.)

The Server Properties window appears.

Select the Software tab, then the View Initialization Log button. A text window appears with the content of the startup portion of the SAS log.

While you're in there, the View SAS Server Products button might also be of interest. That shows you the list of licensed and installed SAS products in your environment. It's not comprehensive (doesn't check for every product that SAS offers) but it covers most of the common products.


About Author

Chris Hemedinger

Director, SAS User Engagement

+Chris Hemedinger is the Director of SAS User Engagement, which includes our SAS Communities and SAS User Groups. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies

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