03-16-2016 10:22 AM - edited 03-24-2016 09:13 AM
I haven't seen any threads for new features or improvements for the next version of SAS Enterprise Guide (v8 I assume) so I wanted to get a few thoughts out there. Perhaps there are workarounds to accomplish these in EG 7 (it's completely plausible I missed something) but hopefully EG8 team will at least consider some of these.
It might help to explain that I typically have a lot of programs in a single EG project. Typically, I have to scroll down the Project Tree window to view those files. Mostly these are batch programs that I need to maintain, babysit and occasionally test manually from EG (*LOVE* the Search Current project feature, in EG7 by the way!). Also, I'm not a big fan of the Process Flow visualizer.
(1) "Project Tree" window (default docked at top left) which organizes Process Flows (comprised of Data sets, Programs, etc.)
(a) Allow more user-control over the visualization/organization of "Programs" node. Allow user to group programs into organized sub-groups (perhaps user could "box" a group of programs or add a "break" between sub-groups of programs). Allow user to colorize (highlight) specific programs (think tab colors in an Excel workbook). I do acknowledge user could create multiple Process Flows to organize but also feel these features would still be worth having.
(b) When adding a new SAS program to "Program" node, default is to insert to very bottom of list. Change this default to insert above currently selected program (it is inconvenient for users with lots of SAS programs in the Program node)
(c) Improve copy/paste program file feature -- it’s easy to select program, right-click and hit "copy", but my experience is that the second operation (right-click "Paste") to paste a copy of the program seldom works because I've failed to select some hidden sweet spot within the Program node. Maybe instead of user having to copy/paste manually, you could add another drop-down option (when user right-clicks on program) to "create copy below current selection" to do it all in one action.
(d) default background color for selected program too light (when cursor is pointing in program code window) -- this may be reflective of Windows color scheme. Selecting a program (double-click file) in the Program node is clearly visible (for me the file has a strong BLUE background color with white font) however when I click into the program editor that distinctive shading goes away (becomes VERY light grey, and is hardly distinguishable from other programs). I'd like to see the color shading remain as is (or some other more distinctive background, outline box, etc.).
(e) Improve drag/drop of items in Program node - this might be mitigated with (b) and (c) above, but after inserting a new program into Program node, I have to drag the file up to where I want it placed. With many files, this can take several drag actions as (when I drag the file) the window doesn't continue scroll if I don't let go of mouse as I might expect it to in Windows File Explorer. Also, after dropping the file the Project Tree window resets scroll position and not always obvious where my file landed.
(f) Add color shading to program that has executed this session -- So I open EG project and plan on running 5 programs. As I run each of them have the program (in Project Tree Program node) be highlighted in GREEN outline to indicate the program has run with no errors this session, YELLOW if some minor errors, RED has errors. No color if program hasn't been run yet. "This Session" means "since I opened the project" -- if I close project and reopen the color shading disappears (until I execute again).
(g) It would be nice if I could mouse over (mouse hover) the program and have displayed the last execution time within EG (regardless of session)
(h) Run multiple selected programs sequentially or simultaneously -- sometimes I have program clusters I’d like to submit sequentially (sometimes simultaneously). For sequential scenario, I know I can select program, right-click and Run/execute a single program but can't do this when multiple programs are selected. Currently I have to select each one, right click and Run...wait for prompt to confirm and it is added to queue (if other program already running), and repeat for each program. It would be nice if, when multiple programs selected, I could select Run sequentially or simultaneously (where supported). If I selected sequentially, have a pop-up window display the arranged order -- and allow me to EDIT that order -- and then submit sequentially. Of course, since we have SASGRID it would be nice to have option to submit simultaneously too. This capability could be extended to (a) above (organized program sub-groupings) to allow entire sub-group submitted -- and even allow user to specify a sequence order for the files. I know Process Flow visualizer probably offers sequential processing but I'm thinking something lighter and quicker (minimally sufficient) in the Program node.
(i) Add ability to SORT items programs in the Program node -- by NAME, Date/Time last executed, Location
(j) Program Icon different for external Programs - some of my programs (in Program node) are strictly stored in the EG project itself, but I also have many external files (stored on Linux/Grid server). The icon itself may be slightly different but needs to be more distinctive (maybe add BLUE dot instead of RED dot in bottom right)
(2) Program Editor Window Pane - program editor, log, Data and Output tabs
(a) Add LIBRARY to dataset Name in the Data tab -- after running a program, I have EG configured to create "Data" tab so I can inspect the various datasets created from the job. In many cases, I'm building temporary datasets in WORK, then will make them permanent in a SAS Library. Currently the Data tab only provides the Data set NAME (no Library) so when I review my created datasets that may happen to be named the same (on in WORK, the other in permanent library) I don't know which is which.
(b) Add Named Range to files exported to Excel format (in Output Data tab when viewing Dataset) - one of the best features with PROC EXPORT in PC-SAS was that it created a Named Range - very handy for many things including PIVOT Tables and VLOOKUP. EG is able to export to .XLSX file but it does NOT create a Named Range. Bring this handy feature back!!
03-18-2016 12:31 AM
You've got some nice ideas here and some are the same improvements I would like as well.
In particular I like the more flexible Program tabbing in SAS Studio compared to EG.
04-29-2016 02:15 PM
I'll add another item:
ODS (or proc export) support to write data to a specific set of cells in an existing excel file such that the other content in the file isn't replaced.
This would go a long way to removing the angst from losing DDE support.