Best IDEs for SAS

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Contributor
Posts: 29

Best IDEs for SAS

I've been looking for a better IDE for SAS for some time, but I've never had any luck.  I have the basic version, SAS Studio, and SAS Enterprise Guide.  None of these come close to what I want, though.  The biggest drawback I have is that these don't work outside of a single window.  I like to view data sets, the log and my current script at the same time, and this isn't feasible in any of these options.  Are there other IDEs I could be using, and if not, are there some hidden settings I'm overlooking that could make some of this a little better?

 

My preferred solution would be something like R-Studio's default layout as this gets the balance right between making the programming portion a little less painless and allowing you to efficiently 'see' your data.  There, you have your script in the top left, a console/log in the bottom right (why no console, anyway?).  On the right, you have quick and easy access to information on all user loaded data (without having to navigate through libraries and open new windows), functions, variables, etc as well as a nice file explorer and a handy window for the help menu.  What's even better is any of these can be 'popped out' outside the main window.  This allows for side to side viewing and a much better use of available screen space.  

 

I have a lot of frustrations with SAS, but the available user interfaces are the biggest.  

Super User
Posts: 23,763

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

Isn't that kind of how SAS Studio is designed. And the new version of EG, in screenshots looks pretty close to the R-Studio interface as well. 

 

I think the last release of SAS Studio was also supposed to allow you to split it into different browser windows which I'm very much looking forward to!

Contributor
Posts: 29

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

SAS Studio may be that way now, but my version doesn't allow for that.  To view a script and data side by side, I have to open a new instance of SAS Studio and load the data from one while I look at the code from the other.  It's slow, and it's rather hackish, but if I"m overlooking how to do it, let me know.  

 

The only thing I can pop out is the results tab under the program tab.  I cannot do this for the code and log tabs, and these are the only ones I care about.  I hate that I have to cycle between the two and cannot compare.  I makes debugging tedious.  But the results tab is something I don't even use.  I always turn any sort of 'output/results' options off.  It's much easier and faster to simply look at the data or at the log than cycling through a new output screen. 

 

 

Super User
Posts: 23,763

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

Here are the screenshots for the next releases:

 

https://communities.sas.com/t5/SAS-Communities-Library/The-Future-of-SAS-Enterprise-Guide-and-SAS-St...

 

I've never worked with an external SAS IDE, but I have coded in NotePad++ and Jupyter Notebook, with mixed results. I much prefer SAS Studio now.  Chris Hemedinger has a site (gitHub) that has what you need to set up NotePad++ as an editor.

I personally have been quite impressed with Visual Studio as an IDE lately. It has a lot of cool features and developers in multiple area's in my org seem to like it as well. Not sure if that could be modified somehow to work with SAS?

 

https://blogs.sas.com/content/sasdummy/2017/08/25/npp-with-sas/

 

 

Contributor
Posts: 29

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

I do use the Notepad++ plug-in from time to time.  It's great for comparing two sets of code and things of that nature, but it lacks a log and data viewer so this isn't something that will work for me when I actually want to submit code and see the results.  (But again, it is useful for writing in many cases.)

 

I've never been a fan of Jupyter notebooks because they have many of the same types of issues I'm raising here.  The user space for a given session is just far too constrained.  I never understood the appeal of running something in a browser...

Super User
Posts: 3,920

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

What version of SAS Studio and EG are you referring to? EG allows you to split your screen in half and view code and data alongside each other. EG 8, due out in 2019, will allow you to open as many program and data windows at the same time as you like.

Contributor
Posts: 29

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

SAS Studio is 3.2 and EG is 6.1.  When you say you can have as many windows open as you'd like, are these windows internal to the underlying EG window, or are they able to be viewed outside the underlying window?  

 

Using the split view in EG helps, and hopefully it'll improve next year.  I'd like to have a lot more flexibility in how I view them.  Right now, I'm limited to the space available to the EG window itself, and I have to choose between viewing the two of the three.  I'd prefer to be able to see all three without clicking around and retain the option to better compare two of the three in any given moment.  It saves a bit of clicking which really adds up.  

 

But this reminds me of one question that might be another post (and can do so if that's the case).  When I use the basic version of SAS, editing a dataset while viewing it is not allowed.  Is this consistent with all versions of SAS IDEs?  I'm often having to do trial and error when I first get a dataset and like to visually check the results.  I don't like having to close it, try a different edit, reopen, and possibly repeat if the previous attempt didn't work.

Super User
Posts: 3,920

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

As I understand it the windows are inside the EG screen space, but the paradigm is more like SAS Studio where you have multiple programs open as tabs, each with its own program, log and output windows. BTW, EG 8 will have the option of turning off the Process Flow window, a feature that will be very useful I think if you are just a coder.

SAS Super FREQ
Posts: 394

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

In the next release of EG (EG 8), you'll be able to organize views within the EG application window however you would like *and* float any views out into separate windows to leverage multiple monitors.  For example, you could view 6 (or more, up to you) data sets (or programs, or any other view) at one time in the EG application window, or you could drag each out into its own window and organize them however you desire across however many monitors you have.  You'll be able to layout code, log, ODS results, and output data however you like; for example, you could view all four at the same time.  Creating a fully flexible windowing environment for SAS programming is one of our primary goals for this next EG release.

 

Casey

Contributor
Posts: 29

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

Posted in reply to CaseySmith

Thanks, Casey.  Looks like I'll just have to make do with what I have until these updates roll out.  Are you able to provide a window smaller than all of 2109 as to when we can expect these to be released?

SAS Super FREQ
Posts: 394

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

We are targeting Q2 2019, but I obviously can't promise anything.

 

Casey

Super Contributor
Posts: 282

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

Hi @mark4

 

Just as as FYI, SAS Studio allows you to move tabs to be horizontally aligned (One top of another)

SASStudio.png

 

To achieve this, just click on one of the taps, and drag it below the currently active tab, a Drop Zone along with Green mouse pointer will indicate the ability to drop in the screen.

 

If you want to maximize your view, Type Alt+F11, to hide the left side navigation Panel.

 

Hope this helps,

Ahmed

Contributor
Posts: 29

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

Posted in reply to AhmedAl_Attar

Thanks.  I was unaware you could do that.  It's a bit better, but it's still cramped and much like the basic version of SAS IDE, you really have to choose between viewing two of the three windows.  Hopefully these things will improve in the future...

Super User
Posts: 13,577

Re: Best IDEs for SAS


@mark4 wrote:

I've been looking for a better IDE for SAS for some time, but I've never had any luck.  I have the basic version, SAS Studio, and SAS Enterprise Guide.  None of these come close to what I want, though.  The biggest drawback I have is that these don't work outside of a single window.  I like to view data sets, the log and my current script at the same time, and this isn't feasible in any of these options.  Are there other IDEs I could be using, and if not, are there some hidden settings I'm overlooking that could make some of this a little better?

 

 


I quite often in "Base SAS" have program, log and a data set in view at the same time. So I wonder what exactly "isn't feasible". I suspect there may be another requirement you are not stating.

 

And the limit is actually monitor space. I have had SAS sessions extend across 2 monitors but that has some drawback because the OS, Windows in my case, does things to windows that extend across multiple monitors when screen saver kicks in or locking the desktop.

 

I find any IDE that doesn't have access to the online context-sensitive help to be less useful.

Contributor
Posts: 29

Re: Best IDEs for SAS

As you say, you can view them all at once, but it's cumbersome to do so.  (I probably should have said cumbersome instead of feasible.)

image.png

By default, new data sets are opened on top of the log, and to view all three, you have to manually resize the windows.  Opening new windows (new programs, new datasets) after resizing existing windows makes a mess - they don't respect your resized windows (sending a dataset to the same location 'over' the opened dataset, for example), and they don't open in a consistent place and manner.  I wind up spending a lot of time just cycling through and resizing windows to create the view I need and repeating this process anytime I want to change to a different program or data source or look at the log. 

 

I don't have any desire to stretch this single basic SAS window across multiple monitors.  As you point out, it's awkward, and that doesn't address any of the issues in the paragraph above. 

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