Data Entry

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Super User
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Data Entry

Hi,

I was looking for some suggestions on something which has been vexing me for quite a while now.  What I am looking at is metadata programming, i.e. the use of metadata and code generators to create other programs.  This all works fine having the metadata in SAS datasets.  What I am having trouble with is getting the metadata into datasets.  Now we have looked at Excel as the data entry system and reading that in, however there are issues around that - not being related so lack of consistency with documents, no real structural integrity on the input data unless the file is locked down with formats attached etc.  Entimo is being tried at the moment.  Then there is fsedit/view which don't work particularly well on our setup and aren't really all that functional.

So my question is, has anyone addressed the problem of getting data into and out of SAS via user friendly interfaces and would you have any suggestions on what to look at.  IT/Licensing is limited, and the knowledge base tends to be mainly SAS.

Thanks


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‎05-17-2014 04:19 AM
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Posts: 4,173

Re: Data Entry

The SAS solutions with user interfaces I know use the SAS Mid-tier (Web/Application server) and custom written screens (Flex, HTML5, Java). As to my knowledge there are no "out-of-the-box" screens you could use/amend - and with Base SAS only licensed you're also not having a SAS mid-tier.

I agree that using AF or FSEDIT for this is outdated. So using SAS/Access or any other "3rd party" tool sounds like a reasonable approach to me. If there are only a few users then a "fat client" sounds acceptable else you would probably look for an approach with a thing client (but then you will need some sort of application server available).

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Super User
Posts: 5,429

Re: Data Entry

First of all, what kind of SAS license do you have? And are you willing to expand that to achieve this?

Since you are talking about to manually enter meta data, I presume that you don't have a SAS metadata server?

Excel could work fine as a UI, bot not for storage. If you link Excel to an external data source (database, such as SQL Server, or SAS), you could probably deal with most inconsistency problems.

We have also used MS Access, which let you design the UI a bit more than Excel - but it tends to be a whole system of it's own, so it depends on how much effort/weight you wish to put on this application.

Data never sleeps
Super User
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Posts: 7,955

Re: Data Entry

Hi LinusH,

Thank you for your thoughts.  We just have base SAS 9.3.  Yes, I had actually seen the metadata server in action some time back and it had some benefits.  I have actually just come out of meeting on this where we were discussing different methods, Access being one of them.  The outcome of which is that focus has moved toward OWL and RDF as a modeling tool, so am now investigating open source tools for that.  Let me ponder this some further and will update if I progress.

Trusted Advisor
Posts: 3,212

Re: Data Entry

http://support.sas.com/resources/papers/proceedings14/1661-2014.pdf just that usage OWL/RDF is telling the area your are working in.

---->-- ja karman --<-----
Super User
Super User
Posts: 7,955

Re: Data Entry

Hello Jaap Karman,

Interesting article, thank you.  I actually have code which can generate datasets and outputs etc. from metadata in SAS datasets, that's no problem.  Its the actually user interface to enter, update, and manipulate the metadata itself which is the sticking point.  At the moment we copy/paste domains in different Excel files, and then import those (mainly because Excel is quick for entry and most people have it), but Excel's flexibility is also its weakness.  I may just create some user interfaces over SQLite or something similar for the time being.

Solution
‎05-17-2014 04:19 AM
Respected Advisor
Posts: 4,173

Re: Data Entry

The SAS solutions with user interfaces I know use the SAS Mid-tier (Web/Application server) and custom written screens (Flex, HTML5, Java). As to my knowledge there are no "out-of-the-box" screens you could use/amend - and with Base SAS only licensed you're also not having a SAS mid-tier.

I agree that using AF or FSEDIT for this is outdated. So using SAS/Access or any other "3rd party" tool sounds like a reasonable approach to me. If there are only a few users then a "fat client" sounds acceptable else you would probably look for an approach with a thing client (but then you will need some sort of application server available).

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