By Dr. Karl Ho, Research and Statistical Support Services Manager
What's new in SAS 8.2? The new SAS Graph and Beyond
In a number of my previous articles, I have introduced SAS's graphical capabilities in the recent releases including generating web-ready charts, Java-enabled graphs and maps and ActiveX-driven data exposition in a chart. In SAS 8.2, a whole suite of new and revised graphical tools is introduced and ready for use, enabling users to fully incorporate graphic output into other formats and platform, mostly notably the web.
SAS/Graph comes with a number of device drivers which roll out the SAS charts into web-ready files or formats. These drivers produce not just static formats such as GIF and JPEG. Among others are animated GIF, interactive ActiveX HTML output and Java-enabled HTML output.
This output option takes advantage of the Output Delivery System (ODS) introduced in version 7. ODS generates SAS output in a wide range of formats, among them the HTML output with GIF charts. This method generates web-ready, static graphic files. Another driver WEBFRAME can also output HTML page in form of thumbnailed graphs that you can click and enlarge the chart.
This device driver combines multiple charts into one file that animates with repeating multiple charts. You can control the number of iteration and speed of the animation at the GOPTIONS statement.
With the introduction of SAS/GRAPH Applets for Java, SAS can embed data into HTML file that displays not only SAS chart but with data value display and "drill-down" modes allowing for data view at deeper levels. It requires Java 1.1.4 or higher and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape Communicator 4.08 or later versions. Visit the sample output page and point your cursor to the vertical bars for unit data display or click on the unit to "drill- down" and display a "nested" chart of at next level. To return to the original chart, hold down Shift and Control keys and click the left mouse button.
If you have downloaded and installed the ActiveX control, check out the following sample output for a US map. Point your cursor to the state will display data for that unit. Right click on the map allows you change the option and display of the map.
Technical team and developers at SAS have taken a great deal of efforts to incorporate the latest internet technology into the latest version of the software. In reality, all output from any SAS programs can be directly published to a web server for distribution and display. The next step for further integration will very likely be a console at a local SAS client or server that literally serves as a mini-datawarehouse and content-organizer. It involves the design of the new generation of the software to provide higher portability (data) and scalability (processing), with which I will further discuss in the next issue. Stay tuned.