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From the Field: Better Ways to Create EEL?

SAS Employee
Posts: 33

From the Field: Better Ways to Create EEL?

Something that I thought I would share to this community that may interest those of you familiar with the DataFlux tool set...

I recently received feedback from a user regarding the authoring of EEL in Data Management Studio. Specifically, the user was noting that the Expression node in Data Management Studio left a lot to be desired in terms of making the authoring of EEL code easy. What could SAS do to make this task easier?

EEL stands for Expression Engine Language, which is essentially a way to write custom code that can be called within a Data Management Studio or dfPower job. The interface for authoring and referencing this code within a job is through a node called the Expression node. EEL code is written within the UI for the Expression node and the code is invoked when the node is referenced as part of a job flow.

In releases 2.1 and 2.2 of Data Management Platform, the Expression node was plain. Users could enter code and use the node, but the UI within the node, where EEL code is authored, was more like a text editor than a code editor. Users spoke up and let their unhappiness with this interface be heard and we listened.

With release 2.3 of the Data Management Platform, the R&D team made major UI enhancements for the Expression node. A number of features were added to make the UI significantly more user-friendly through context awareness, editing features, and the kinds of bells and whistles that users expect to facilitate writing code. I have attached a few screenshots showing some of the features, including a function list complete with definitions and annotations, syntax suggestions based on context, and code validation to help troubleshoot code.

Because of this, I was able to respond back and acknowledge the user's challenges while noting that resolving them is as easy as upgrading the version of Data Management Studio. Not only was the user happy to learn this, but he was happier still to learn that Data Management Studio 2.3 can be installed on top of 2.2 and it can still access a 2.2 version of Data Management Server, thus making the upgrade a snap.

Good luck to those of who writing EEL and be sure to keep product suggestions coming.

Mike F.

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