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This post from @Kurt_Bremser triggered an idea I had for a while but I keep forgetting to share it.


It is not very often, although sometimes is offline or has hiccups. It is however often than might be blocked in certain scenarios, and it is often that this resource is critical in certain scenarios.


Would it be possible to create a procedure to generate a local mirror of 


- On one side, this was considered in the past, as SASWebDoc is an app to have documentation of SAS Base locally available. So the idea is not really new.


- On other side, I assume the collection of can be quite large and it has periodic updates. This is something to consider.


My idea is that it would be interesting to have the following functionality:


- Enable subsets of, based on products, solutions, etc

- Have an updated list of those subsets, their sizes and the last update date

- A procedure that would allow to create a mirror of selected updates, and to update them (only the diffs) per request


What do you think of this idea? Feasible? Other requirements to add?

SAS Employee
Status changed to: Under Consideration


  In the documentation for these products, you have the capability to download PDF files :


Would this approach to having documentation backup meet the functionality you are looking for?




Super User

Ideally, we would be able to create a local mirror of the HTML content, and have a utility that checks for and downloads changes.

Ideally. I am fully aware of the implications. Could you, by any means, determine the size of all the pages behind ?

Amethyst | Level 16

Hi Casey,


thank you for asking.


I think as Kurt. If you ask me, we need a solution repository of documentation, searchable and space optimized. Like WebDoc, but from this century 🙂


A PDF repository is highly non practical for processing large amounts of SAS documents. If it includes the capability to get subsets as PDF is welcome, but not the objective of this idea.

Diamond | Level 26

A concern that I have is that I bookmarked many documentation links at (for example, PROC LOGISTIC) so I can get to them fast. I would expect those links wouldn't work for the PDF version. I believe (but I'm not sure) that with a local mirror of the HTML files, my bookmarks at could be easily re-directed to the local mirror.

SAS Employee

@JuanS_OCS  This is Simon from SAS documentation.
Thanks so much for suggesting this idea. To be honest, we have not really considered a mirror version of the HTML documentation. Our uptime for our hosted Help Center is really positive (in 4 and a half years, we've had ~8 hours of outage). With that kind of uptime, we haven't felt the need for local backups. 

You are right of course, that there may be other situations where a local version is preferred. The prime example is that certain sites forbid internet access from their SAS systems for security reasons.

For these customers (and anyone who wants the same thing) we have arranged for PDF downloads to be available. My area is the administration docs, here's what we offer for Viya 3.5: 
This page has many of the things you were asking for: size estimates, subsetting (this is just the admin docs), personalization (only download the things you want), but they are PDFs.

I sense that you are more interested in SAS programming doc. So here is one for you: 

We haven't widely publicized these, because we're really hoping people adopt and get the benefits of the hosted HTML-version of the docs.
Again the same advantages, but also the same disadvantages.


@PaigeMiller I think that you are correct to assume such bookmarks wouldn't transfer. However, if you use the PDFs routinely then you can build up your bookmarks there. My worry there is that we do update these docs fairly regularly and when you update you'd lose the bookmarks.


I'm sorry that we don't have a perfect answer for you. If you have other thoughts I'm more than happy to hear them.

Thanks again for posting.

Amethyst | Level 16

Hi @SimonMcGrother , a pleasure to talk to you, and thank you for chiming in, appreciated.


Indeed, in the years I am working with SAS I did not experience meaningful downtime of the documentation (and that is a huge compliment!).

I do see the benefit though for the cases when access to internet is an issue. Of course, this has been reduced dramatically during the last decade, but there are still companies that secure very much the access and ensure things are not mixed up. I work with a few of these user communities.


I was not aware of this portal you shared, and I see it covers some of the requirements. I will definitely add it to my bookmarks and I suggest to give it a bit more exposure (perhaps focused, i.e for governments). I think is a good starting point! With this, at least you can ensure the relevant information is available offline - which is the most important detail.


As secondary item, still important, I still see a great benefit when having a local mirror, as having the information in html format, and with search capability. This is to grant efficiency to the SAS User communities in these circles, and to prevent the human errors when copy and paste large pieces of code/commands. If you do it from HTML to a text file, the adjustment is minimal. If you do it from PDF you need to adjust all kind of things: special characters, the end of lines, the end of pages, etc.


Would this improvement be an idea for the coming future?

SAS Employee


Thanks for your reply. Your idea has definitely stirred some debate in our documentation group. Our development team is pretty booked for the next ~6 months as we get ready for continuous delivery of the software (and hence the documentation). But this is definitely something that we will investigate and consider with an open mind.

In the short-term, I could create a community post with a list of the (most important) PDF download portals. Hopefully, that would give them a bit more prominence.

A pleasure to be in touch


Amethyst | Level 16

Thank you @SimonMcGrother , and to all the documentation team(s). I can easily imagine how busy are your schedules, specially as the new products come in in the road map. I keep checking when the documentation is there. I definitely like your ideas and will surely help. I will stand by for any improvements and development. The pleasure to be in contact is mine. Your team(s) deserve all the recognition and to be in the spotlight.

Best, Juan