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Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

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Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

In most forums I visit there are lots of threads with suggestions for possible improvements of that particular piece of software. To my surprise there are few (if any) threads in this forum. That is the reason for this thread. Let's help the folks at SAS!

While SAS EG 4.0 is the latest version, I'm still using EG 3.0. Therefore my own suggestions may already be incorporated in some way in EG 4.0. But someone will let me know, right? Smiley Wink

1) Close tab-button on each tab instead of close current tab-button on the right-handside of the tabgroup-bar.

2) Additional column in the Task Status window: current number of line of code being processed. This is an additional indicator of how far SAS EG is with running the program.

3) Color-coding macro-code, just like ordinary code.

4) Additional feature in menu Describe: n-way frequencies with option list, which would be an equivalent of:
Proc Freq data=dsn;
tables var1 * var2 / list;

5) Log-window. This window should list all information from the ordinary SAS Log, like NOTE, WARNING, ERROR and so on as separate items. Notes could be in green, warnings in orange and errors in red. Perhaps one could also use a filter in this window to see only errors, or only warnings, or....

6) Possibility to create user-notes, user-warnings and user-errors. E.g. creating a dataset with 0 observations is a SAS note, but would be imho a user-warning (or even a user-error).

7) A window with shortcuts, just like in the stand-alone version of SAS.

8) The option of grouping global statements. To clarify: 1 macro can be collapsed by clicking the plus-sign, but statements like the Options-statement cannot.

9) The possibility to save the bookmarks (CTRL-F2) in the *.sas files (rather than in the *.egp files, like notes) and name the bookmarks as well (creating some sort of chapters, like in a book).

Please add your own suggestion(s) and perhaps rate them and previous suggestions as well? Thanx!
Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

Suggestions are helpful, and the people who work on the EG interface have demonstrated their willingness to listen to users perceptions. So keep offering feedback.

I won't deal with all your ideas, but just offer some pieces where I have something probative to suggest.

2. I'm not sure this has a real context when code objects and tasks have preamble and post processing that will move the line numbers around. However, a %age progress indicator may be possible and informative.

3. This appears to be an artefact of the enhanced editor, and since the code is a child of the macro, and the macro has a display style, I don't think we can use standard step colouring within the macro.

4. I'm sure crosstabs are available within other analytical options.

5. I see colour coding of errors warnings and notes in my logs. I would like the colour coding capabilities of the SAS System Viewer however that allow one to identify other situations such as converted column types or uninitialised variables.

6. Since EG is a front end to a standard SAS session, this would probably be a SAS enhancement. More experienced foundation users are using log parsers to identify and track other situations like this. While we might have an option that identifies empty tables from a step, there are cases where this is desirable. An example would be sorting a table with the DupOut option and if there were no duplicate rows, the DupOut table would be empty. This might be a good rather than bad thing. Elsewhere; an empty table might indicate no records selected matching a given criterion, which again might indicate there is no bad data. Writing a macro to test the _LAST_ table is possible with SAS, executing that after each step would allow you to perform this test, and only do so where the empty table was potentially an issue.

7. If you expand the server window you get the file and library shortcuts that allow you to drill to entity level, including the objects in SAS catalogs. Is something else needed?

8. This is a change to the enhanced editor and will affect foundation SAS as well, although I agree that a screen full of options, titles, footnotes and macro symbol assignments do seem unnecessarily wasteful when you want to collapse the group. An option is to enclose all of them in a macro called MSessionInit (or something similar) and then execute the macro. That would reduce the screen real estate to two lines plus spacing.

9. .sas files are pure text, they are SAS programs and contain SAS code and statements. I don't see how this can be done, and applaud that the project has provided the capacity for the project designer to include user note objects for other users. I don't know how extensively this is employed by others, but I use it extensively for purpose / process / data commentary / project review and similar notes to those who use the project later.

Kind regards

Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

Here are my requests.

1) Ability to open multiple projects without having to start a new SAS EG instance.
2) Ability to actually multi-task within a project
a) While a long query within a project is running, be able to create and then run another query.
b) Ability to run multiple long running queries or code segments concurrently and not just sequentially.
c) Ability to work on a second, third, etc. project while waiting for a query to finish in the first project, without having to start a second, third, etc. EG instance.

3) We can add objects to a project, which are represented by icons. You can right click on the icons and select properties for the icon. I would like to have a property titled "Autoexec" to place objects into an autoexecution group for when a project is opened. Where this is most handy is to be able to autoexecute an "Assign Library" object which defines the default output library for the project.

4) Be able to associate a unique output library with a specific project. Right now, you can create an Assign Library object which creates either an EGTASK library or a project specific library. If you create a project specific library, you have to then go into ToolsSmiley SurprisedptionsSmiley Surprisedutput Library ... and add the project specific library and remove other project specific libraries. I would rather that the Default Output Library for a project be a property of that project and be assigned/created on opening that project. This is important to be able to muli-task human work loads.

5) Unlimited "series" in a chart. Right now we are limited to 20, and Excel can do 250, and there are times when I want to chart > 1000 variables and then from there identify the ones I want to look at in more detail.

6) Improve the mouse over capabilities of the output so that we can identify a line or area definitely instead of guessing at the color match

5 and 6 have to do with data/information discovery. Many of us are more visually/graphically oriented as opposed to list of numbers oriented. An initial graphing of massive amounts of unknown information makes it easier to identify what may be interesting, and worth a finer closer look.

7) If we have PC SAS (Local SAS server) then when installing SAS EG it would be nice if it had a link in help to the local help files for SAS itself, not just EG help. If we don't have PC SAS (no local server) then provide an internet link to the
"online" SAS Products help.

8) Ability to view logs as big as 2 GB or larger. Right now if I want to do that, I have to ftp the log to a Unix box and use "more" or "less". Message was edited by: Chuck
Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

Fairly clearly I haven't hammered EG enough yet, but I clearly remember when I was writing user migration instructions and training material for EG 2 that the server would execute a query and store the others until the queue was free and execute them. So, I'm not sure where your point 2a comes in.

As somebody who sometimes either sets up or administers workspace servers for others, my reflex reaction to concurrent processing is not very supportive. Too often I have seen a limited resource hammered by a couple of people who arrived earliest in the day and started long running jobs that hogged the system resources. By all means, look at concurrent processing, but I'd really like to see some resource management like that found on mainframes where you are allowed one initiator on a long running queue and multiple initiators on short running queues. Then a "system crocodile" crawls around the initiators every ten minutes or so and unceremoniously kills your short running queue jobs when they have exceeded the permitted time. Having to restart a job a couple of times soon teaches you to wait and not hog a limited resource.

I wonder what brilliant computer monitor you are using that allows you to see and interpret more than about six chart series. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I don't think a thousand series is quite what the saying had in mind I take the approach that I'll chart data in meaningful groups and select from there. I certainly can't form any meaningful opinions from 1000 lines with subtly different shades.

Clearly I'm "old school" and am not used to quite so many helpful things being available in SAS. Thanks to IE finally supporting tabbed browsing, I have five tabs open all day in a session, the key ones are and the online documentation from the same root. Since I visit clients, and encounter all manner of SAS installations, and am often constrained from making any changes to outsource-supported platforms, I rely on my set of IE pages day to day. As a side issue, and someone can correct my numbers if they are wrong, but the installation of the online docs takes around 135Mb of disk space, which is why I chose to install it on clients network resources when they were first released in SAS version 8.

I think you'll find 2GB is a file system limitation, not an EG one. Of course I need to ask why the log is so large, and how you can possibly expect to track every key message in such a large log every time.

Kind regards

Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

A simple suggestion...
As someone who has always documented my code....

I want some basic drawing tools to be used to organize a process flow...
the Notes task...multiple process flows.... and renaming icons just doesnt cut it

For example, how about a text box so I can label a section of icons.
or group the items with a background color
How about being able to draw the arrows (the ones that represent links) or at least the option to choose what side of the icon it originates and terminates from.

More needs to be done to make process flows readable...
If I'm missing something, let me know....

Same goes for DIS.

New Contributor
Posts: 4

Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

I am missing the following in EG
1. proc report integrated to EG
2. Ordering sequence of process flow should change analogue to Project Explorer
Community Manager
Posts: 2,889

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG


I just wanted to post a Thank You to the forum community for the list-so-far of suggested improvements. We are listening (reading) with interest, and we appreciate that you care enough about the software to help us improve it.

Some of these suggestions are familiar, some we are working on, and some are new ideas completely. I encourage you to keep them coming.

Also, you should know that you can always submit suggestions to These suggestions are collected by SAS and considered for the SASWare ballot, where you get a chance to vote on what's important to you.

Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

My attitude is coloured heavily by the approach of one of your colleagues Chris. She arranged an appointment with me in the demo area at SUGI (possibly Montreal?) and discussed my views on the ergonomics of EG 2. I saw some of those refinements in place in EG 3, and whether or not they were as a result of our discussion, it was clear that the views of the user community were important and contributed to the design process.

I have long known about and voted in the SAS Ballot, and have seen changes and enhancements in SAS applied since the mid version 6 releases, albeit a little more slowly given the size of the SAS System, the scope of the Ballot and the large number of enhancements that are suggested. Still, it is gratifying to see a maturing application like E.G. developed with a close ear being kept on the user community. I suspect the creation of the Forum has something to do with that and applaud that delivery as well.

I will suggest though that one of my IE tabs was on where I could search notes or switch to the Forum with a single mouse click. Since the change in the last couple of days on that page, the forum shortcut image has been replaced and it took me a little longer to find the page through the menus. I know other subjects are needed to pop in, like the SGF 2008 call for papers, but the return of the more prominent Forum image and hyperlink would be great.

Kind regards

Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

I just thought of another possible feature:
10) a new window in which the ODS elements which are created in run-time are listed.

11) And an overall cleansweep of the SAS-code would be nice. There are now different styles of programming mixed and mingled, e.g.: original base-code, macro-code, proc tabulate code (compare it with other procs), proc sql code, hash-tables code, etc. It would be nice of things would look more like each other.

12) Another thing could be the allowance of defining and executing macros within macros. I sometimes use the %include statement within a macro, which calls a program which has macro-definitions in it and executes them as well. In my experience this goes wrong most of the times because of this nesting of macros.

13) An option in order to set the number of items belonging to a program in the Project window. The number of items (nodes?) seems to be limited to 50. Edited by Maaldijk: added 13)

Message was edited by: Maaldijk
Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

Sorry Maaldijk, I can't let number 12 pass uncommented.

I have a very mature macro (more than 12 years old) which uses Windows APIs to retrieve data on files registered to the Windows operating system A single macro call steps through retrieval of the file names.

In the middle however, there is a need to translate the data on file dates and file attributes into something useable. Given that a Windows file has three dates, and that the conversion is the same for each file, I have a macro called three times that converts each time value into SAS date times. In similar object-based management, the three calls are embedded in an attribute macro that is called directly from the master macro.

So: filefind retrieves the file names, as each file is found, getattr is called to convert the binary file flags to a meaningful value and gettime is called three times then to convert each date. In terms of execution then, we have a macro calling a macro, calling a macro and solid data returned from each iteration.

It is outside the purview of this forum, but the base & ODS forum may be more suitable for an examination of your code.

Kind regards

Posts: 27

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

One of the take-away points that I got from SGF this year was to consider using Enterprise Guide instead of the Display Manager (aka Enhanced Editor) as my development platform. In addition to seeing Marge Fecht’s hands-on workshop on the subject I also talked to a SAS employee who said that with 16 years of using SAS he used EG for his development. My understanding is that EG is where most of the new development effort is being focused so it would appear that moving would be helpful in the long-run.

However once I got back I found a number of things that I didn’t care for. Perhaps some of them are possible but it wasn’t clear to me how to do them.

1) SAS command line – I want to be able to view a data set and look at its contents with a few commands. In DM, I can simply hit F11 and then type ‘fsview sashelp.class’ or ‘vars sashelp.class’ and get these two things fairly quickly. These are the main things I do on the command line. Doing these in EG is not so easy.
2) GUI access to styles and table templates – in DM I right click on Results and can then select Templates. There doesn’t seem to be a way to do this in EG. I can use proc template commands and do the same thing, but it’s not as easy.
3) SAS Language Help – I was coding in EG and wanted to look up the ATTRIB command. I went to EG’s help (Help->SAS Enterprise Guide Help) but didn’t see where I could find SAS Language help, or SAS Procedure help for that matter. I was looking at the Contents Tab which would presumably show everything that’s there. It didn’t. I was able to find the help by using the Index and Search command, but that’s not intuitive. It would seem to me from a usability point of view you would want to include something about SAS Code help in the contents.
Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

Need an easy way to save a multi-step Project Log
We are fairly new to SAS EG, and use it for recurring deliverables, so we need to save the project log from each run of the project, creating an audit trail.

We know of a couple of ways to create the logs (Export project log / Proc printo), but, in a multi-step project, each requires manual intervention and is subject to error.

We need an automated way to capture the logs for all steps in a project. (Once captured, they can be saved by FTPing them to a server on which all logs are automatically archived.)
Posts: 0

Re: Suggestions for improvements in the upcoming version of SAS EG

When you run a project, you are prompted over whether to replace or retain the logs and tables from previous executions. In the simplest view then, you already have a set of logs available for each run if you choose to retain previous results.

For a multi step, often run project though, this could conceivably become clumsy. So my alternative would be to use a "Save As" to save the project with a date extension in the name to identify which run the project refers to.

From an audit review point of view, being handed fifteen similarly named but dated projects, all set as read only, all unmodified since the date of run would go a long way to satisfying me that I had true and correct records of each build process for the reporting project.

Kind regards

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