Contributed by Sy Truong, co-founder of Meta-Xceed.
SAS Global Forum has always been a chance for developers and managers at SAS to shine, and this year in Las Vegas was no exception. There are a couple of trends and development directions that I found interesting on the demo floor in Caesar's Palace. The entire Business Intelligence platform remains relatively unchanged on the server and middle tier level, but many of the clients are going through a dramatic change. Rather than implementing the Java-based PC client, SAS is moving toward a thin client, Flash-based user interface that will be delivered completely within the browser. There will be a transition as these new clients get introduced. The interactivity of the Flash player on the browser provides a rich user experience but there is a huge set of legacy code, so I think SAS will initially straddle between Adobe Flash and a PC desktop application developed in Java.
I am glad to see that SAS is also continuing to expand on foundation SAS by enhancing existing PROC such as PROC TEMPLATE and ODS while creating new PROCs such as PROC XSL. This allows for greater interoperability with industry standard XML and CSS. There is also a push for enhanced visualization such as in SAS/GRAPH while also introducing new Flash-based visual exploration tools.
I always learn new things when talking to the talented crew at SAS. I was privileged to interview a few members at the conference and will share with you some of the YouTube videos:
Pat Herbert & Nancy Rausch Data Integration SASGF11
SAS Data Integration is transitioning to provide a browser based Flash client in addition to the existing Java PC Desktop client tools.
Nascif Neto SAS Visualization SASGF11
This is a new product from SAS that provides data exploration and visualization similar to JMP, but it is delivered completely through a thin client on a web browser.
Kevin Smith ODS SASGF11
ODS continues to mature as it supports industry standard CSS that provides for a powerful way of controlling styles in reports.
Diane Olson PROC XSL SASGF11
The support for XSL allows SAS to apply powerful XML transformation directly within SAS without having to issue a system command to a third-party tool.
Himesh Patel SASGF11
In SAS9.3 and beyond, SAS/Graph will continue in its current form with user requested features. ODS Graphics is the new engine driving server-based procedures. Graph Template Markup Language (GTML) will be enhanced to support internal initiative to drive Flash and iOS graphics on an iPad.