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Research and Statistical Support

SAS Corner

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. 

1. HTML

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.

SAS Output

2. GIFANIM

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.  

 SAS Example: GIFANIM

You can animate other chart types such as line plot and map

3. JAVA

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.

SAS JAVA Output

Other Java-enabled HTML charts include organizational chart, map and pie chart

4. JAVAMETA

This device driver generates similar output in which the JavaScript references a different applet, METAFILE, provided in the SAS/GRAPH software. In this case, the referenced applet provides a different set of capabilities, including embedded controls, a programmable menu, scrolling, animation, zooming, data value display, and drill-down capability. Any SAS/GRAPH procedure that produces metagraphics output can use the JAVAMETA device driver.  The following sample output, for instance, allows views to change the size of the barchart on screen.

JAVAMETA Example

5. ACTIVEX

This device driver generates HTML output that contains JavaScript that references the SAS/GRAPH Control for ActiveX in the Windows/NT operating environment. The ActiveX control must be installed on the Web client to display HTML output generated with the ACTIVEX driver. You can embed this output in Web pages, Object Linked Embedded (OLE) documents, and applications written in Visual Basic, C++, HTML, and JavaScript. Features include graph reorganization, graph save to file, and drill-down. ActiveX outputs provide a useful tool for presentation since the presenter can not only drill down to deeper level of data but also change to another type of chart.  However, an ActiveX control must be installed on each client computer in order to view the output.  SAS/GRAPH Control for ActiveX is available at the SAS download site

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.

ACTIVEX Example

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.