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Creating data entry/editing forms

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6

Creating data entry/editing forms

I have used SIR for most of my data entry and editing, with SAS for statistical analysis.  However, the SIR software (which is still the 1987 version - I never updated) is running on a computer which is to be de-commissioned.  Since I will need to change software, I am exploring replacing my data entry/editing screens with programmes developed in SAS.

What I need is to have the data fields positioned on the screen as if they were a questionanire.  In some places, this means having a matrix style layout with, for example, rows being different reporting years with columns collecting data in physical activity amounts and types within the year.

A simple table or spreadsheet layout isn't suitable.  I need something like a Filemaker screen.

I have read the manuals on SAS/AF and it has some nice features.  But, I am not sure that I see how to display the specific variables from a dataset on a /AF screen for editing.  /FSP seems to be limited to text style layouts.  I did a google search and looking through this forum but didn't find anything to help.

So, before I spend a lot more time on either 'solving the impossible' or 're-inventing the wheel', does anyone have any pointers or advice?

I have considered using something like Filemaker but it can't create SAS programmes to access data like I can from SIR (ODBC might work).  I'd rather not get into having to design HTML/PhP/MySQL code from scratch.

Would appreciate any advice.

Nick Birkett,

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Super User
Posts: 5,849

Re: Creating data entry/editing forms

About AF and FSP - they are fat clients (requires a local SAS Foundation install).

Nowadays, SAS is pushing towards server based installs, and thin (HTML/JavaScript) and semi-thin (.Net/Java) clients. AF and FSP is still supported, but my feeling is they won't be developed any more, and my recommendation is not to build systems around these modules.

To my knowledge, there is no SAS data entry tool "out-of-the-box" for thin clients, perhaps some is available in large packaged offerings - but my feeling is that you are not in the target group for these...

So, perhaps you should search elsewhere for your data entry application. And as you said, the resulting data can "always" be accessed by SAS in some way.

One tool that is somewhere widely spread is MS Access, which allows you to create forms, quite similar to what you can achieve in AF Frames.

Data never sleeps
Respected Advisor
Posts: 4,665

Re: Creating data entry/editing forms

You're definitely a bit outdated (1987!!). I agree with everything wrote.

There are no real "out-of-the-box" data entry screens for SAS. If you have to build your own then with a modern SAS version you'd probably should go for flash/flex (you will need to check your license and installation if the necessary mid-tier components are available).

Else: any data entry screens for any "database" will do as long as you can access the data via ODBC (you must have SAS/Access to ODBC licensed).

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 6

Re: Creating data entry/editing forms

Thanks both.  Largely confirms what I was thinking.  I'm trying to avoid Access for practical reasons.  The Microsoft Office package for iMacs does not include Access.  So, to use it, I'd either have to adopt the OpenOffice version or run it in Parallels, like I currently do for SAS.  I'd like to use a native OS/X database.

I now see two choices: buy the upgrade for SIR or get Filemaker Pro 13.  The former is more expensive and runs under X11 on my iMac (i.e. it is not really 'native').  It's still somewhat 'old school' but has the advantage that all of my current code will run without requiring any modification.  And, I could do updates as time permitted.  Filemaker takes more advantage of CSS, styling, graphic presentation, etc.  It has record locking and support data entry from remote sites via the internet (not a priority a prsent but something which could become useful).  But, I'd have to develop completely new screens/programs to replace my current ones.  And, it has no option to write the database and entry screen definition code in a file and the run them - you have to do all of that using the graphic interface and menu selection (which I find slower then typing code).  Plus, the linkage to SAS is a bit more complicated.

A compromise would be to get the SIR upgrade to support my existing databases but use Filemaker for any new work that I do.  Hmmm.  Decisions, decisions.

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