By Dr.Karl Ho, Research and Statistical Support Services Manager
What's new in SAS 8.2 ? II
In a March 2001 Benchmarks Online article, I outlined the new features to be introduced in the then upcoming SAS 8.2. Guess what? Now, SAS 8.2 (or official version SAS 8.2 TS2MO) is out. It took me by surprise when I received the nine-CD pack, loaded with software that will take me weeks to evaluate and work out the installations. From the new avant-garde logo, I can only wonder if we will be netting more money or getting dragged down by too much stuff :). That being said, SAS is still the software of choice if you want the versatility and scalability, but don't mind the size.
The package comes with five installation configurations: Personal Use, Client, File Server, Application Server and Terminal Server. For individual researchers like us, we are concerned with the first configuration, and leave the rest for the network managers. In fact, the new setup CD allows more freedom for choice of various installation modes. Three new wizards also guide through the checkup of the system components and amount of sources installed on the system. Installers however have to make decision on whether to update system components to accommodate the new SAS installation.
The two new features that have drawn my attention are the Cross-Environment Data Access (CEDA) and Email capability via SMTP. CEDA allows directly reading SAS data files created from any directory-based operating environment such as UNIX, OpenVMS or Windows. Despite that, users from other environments such as CMS can still take advantage of this new features by creating the file in a UNIX format Windows users can read the data by downloading the file via ftp (in binary mode) without any file conversion effort or needing to use a specialized data transfer mode SAS/CONNECT.
Another new feature, which was experimental in 8.1, is the built-in email capability in SAS to directly email SAS files and output via a SAS session or program. Using Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP, Outlook Express mostly in Windows environment), SAS programmers now can set up routine programs to route output unconditionally or conditionally to a list of email recipients. You can also attach files and have conditional messages to different groups of recipients based on the output of each submission.
In the future column articles, I will report more new features in the new SAS 8.2 including a new product that helps "cleanse" raw data. Stay tuned.
P.S. If you are using SAS 8.1, your license will expire on October 31, 2002. Don't panic, SAS has a three month grace period so the actual expiration will be Feb 1, 2002. So, lay back and drive.