Wednesday, April 18, 2012

SAS and Keyboard Shortcuts

Base SAS has an easy way to add keyboard shortcuts that not only do X typical keyboard shortcut task, but also Y SAS program task (e.g., execute a macro). This can be a bit tricky to get to work right, but I've done it with CheckLog, PrintContents, OpenTable, and other interactive macros. However, I can't seem to figure out how to do some of these same things in Enterprise Guide.

Sure, it's easier in Enterprise Guide to open a table that's been run, but what about that library with 10,000 tables where I want to open only 1? It's like searching for a needle in a haystack, not to mention the load time just to see the tables in the library (very slow at 10k tables). It's so much easier to use OpenTable, and it's even easier to use OpenTable via keyboard shortcut. I have another keyboard command to open the properties of the table (a window that is quite severely limited in SAS EG, so perhaps that wouldn't be quite as useful anyway).

And the windowing commands seem to be gone, too. I can't edit a keyboard shortcut to jump from the program to the log: In Base SAS, I use CTRL + L for the log, CTRL + J for the program ("J" only because it's easy to reach and on the same keyboard line as L), and CTRL + K for executing the CheckLog macro ("K" for checK, I guess--again, it's on the same keyboard line as J and L). Just to note: I also have the CAPS key remapped to CTRL, so that's even easier to reach for my lazy efficient hands.

If anyone has experience with doing these things in Enterprise Guide, I'd love to hear feedback on how you get things like this to work - or if you just gave up and went with the new flow. My searches online have been fruitless up to this point, so I wanted to have this post available, at least for a point of contact in case someone else is wondering about the same things I am.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another Odd SAS Error Message

I encountered the following error message last week:

"ERROR: Invalid value for width specified - width out of range"

The code that generated it was using SQL and the PUT function to convert an ID using a format, like so:

compress(put(id, idfmt.), '. ')

Where the IDFMT format originated as a user-created format, stored in a data set. The quick and dirty solution is to add the "?" modifier to the PUT function, which is oddly documented on the INPUT function but not the PUT function:

compress(put(id, ? idfmt.), '. ')

Now why wouldn't that be documented on the PUT function page?

And what about my original problem? I've tried varying the lengths of the input column, the format, removing the compress statement, and switching to TRANWRD or PRXCHANGE. I also tried to identify the records involved, but with 35.6 million records, that was far to slow. I know that the issue occurred in the second half of the data, but beyond that is too time consuming to look for the needle in the haystack.

Finally, I figured out a solution: The original format is based on an input data set, using the CNTLIN= option on PROC FORMAT to generate the format on the fly. The data set does not have the HLO (High/Low/Other) flag to indicate what non-matching (Other) starting values would be labeled as. I added it like so:

data custom_format;
    /* Output the original records */
    set custom_format end=end;

    /* Output an additional record */
    if end then do;

Then the code using the format worked, and to boot it no longer needed the COMPRESS function to remove the blanks and numeric missing values (".").

Hopefully anyone else with a similar issue will find that one of the above solutions fits their need.

Friday, April 6, 2012

SAS Global Forum Papers Online

The SAS Global Forum papers are already posted online!

Here are my papers:

Standardized Macro Programs for Macro Variable Manipulation

An Advanced, Multi-Featured Macro Program for Reviewing Logs

Feel free to read ahead if you're attending. It might help!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SAS Enterprise Guide and the Log

I'm presenting on the CheckLog macro that I developed to review a log (or any file or list of files) for errors, warning, and other messages in SAS related to issues. To make sure everything is ready to go, I've been reviewing it to see if there's anything I can improve, especially in regard to SAS Enterprise Guide, the new(er) platform for using SAS.

I encountered a few issues between the two. First, the display manager statements (DM) no longer work in Enterprise Guide. The fix was easy, although a bit tricky: For Windows users (Enterprise Guide is currently only on Windows), I switched from using the DM POSTMESSAGE statement to a Windows API called MessageBox. The API allows greater flexibility than the POSTMESSAGE statement, e.g., I can set an icon to go along with the message. Now Windows users can tell what happened not only by the message, but the icon, too.

However, the DM statement that attempts to export the current log is still intact. I was unable to find a way to replace this, or much less export the Enterprise Guide log in a simple, programmatic fashion. Essentially, it is not possible to use CheckLog to review the "current log" as defined in the Base SAS sense. However, Enterprise Guide users can still check the "current log", but they have to make it an external log in one of two ways.

The first way is to export the log using PROC PRINTTO before the program executes. The code for this isn't too bad, and it can be easily added to any existing program:

/* Set a directory and filename for the log */
%let log=%sysfunc(pathname(work))\work.log;

/* Print the log to the specified location */
proc printto log="&LOG";

/* Run some SAS code... */
proc sql;
create table test as
select *
from sashelp.vtable

/* Turn off printing to the file */
proc printto;

/* Check the external log */
/* Note: The shadow is set to "N" (No) since it is not necessary to copy the log */
%checklog(&LOG, shadow=N);

This method works fairly well. However, not all users may want to use PROC PRINTTO, or they may be using it in a fashion that would conflict with the above suggestion.

The second option involves the project flow in Enterprise Guide. This solution is quite a bit more convoluted, and I outlined it, along with screenshots, on the CheckLog Enterprise Guide page. Essentially, the user has to export the log as a step in the project flow and run CheckLog in a small program. From there, the user can either programmatically determine what to do or set other steps in Enterprise Guide to run based on conditions, e.g., using the ISSUES macro variable to determine what to do next.

Overall, this is quite a bit more convoluted, and it would be great if there were some programmatic way to export the Enterprise Guide log. If anyone knows of a simple way to do that, please let me know!