Re: [R] things that are difficult/impossible to do in SAS or SPSSbut simple in R

From: Tim Churches <>
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2008 08:11:59 +1100

hadley wickham wrote:

> On Jan 18, 2008 1:19 PM, Jeffrey J. Hallman <> wrote:

>> Frank E Harrell Jr <> writes:
>>> Rob Robinson wrote:
>>>> I wonder if those who complain about SAS as a programming environment have
>>>> discovered SAS/IML which provides a programming environment akin to Matlab
>>>> which is more than capable (at least for those problems which can be treated
>>>> with a matrix like approach). As someone who uses both SAS and R - graphical
>>>> output is so much easier in R, but for handling large 'messy' datasets SAS
>>>> wins hands down...
>>>> Cheers
>>>> Rob
>>> My understanding is that PROC IML is disconnected from the rest of the
>>> SAS language, e.g., you can't have a loop in which PROC GENMOD is called
>>> or datasets are merged. If that's the case, IML is not very competitive
>>> in my view.
>> I know about IML, but have never really used it. Back when I was doing that
>> kind of stuff (before discovering S-Plus) I used GAUSS for compute-intensive
>> matrix simulations and the like. I didn't have SAS for my PC, and there was
>> no way I could tie up the Sun boxes at work with simulations for my thesis.
>> But while IML does some nice stuff, it just reinforces the point I made in
>> another post about the proliferation of "little languages" in SAS. By my count,
>> that are now 5:
>> 1. data step programming
>> 2. macros -- a 'language' grafted on top of data step programming
>> 3. scl -- if you want to do any kind of user interface
>> 4. af -- object-oriented framework built on top of scl
>> 5. iml -- matrix language like GAUSS, but doesn't play well with 1:4 above.
> 6. the "proc" language

7. java - used to create SAS web applications via webAF etc 7a. JavaScript

8. C, FORTRAN, PL/I, or IBM assembler - if you want to create a new first-class function or procedure in SAS using SAS/TOOLKIT (otherwise you only have pseudo-functions via the SAS macro language and all its horrors).

Tim C mailing list PLEASE do read the posting guide and provide commented, minimal, self-contained, reproducible code. Received on Fri 18 Jan 2008 - 21:19:47 GMT

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