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st: RE: Programming menus, dialogs and windows


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: RE: Programming menus, dialogs and windows
Date   Fri, 4 Oct 2002 15:46:26 +0100

Chris.Fergusson@sth.nhs.uk

> I have just stumbled across the -window- section in the
> programming manual,
> and believe that this feature of Stata would be very
> beneficial to me.  At
> the moment I have a suite of seperate do files associated with the
> calculation of cancer statistics, but am hoping to
> eventually have just one
> do file that will call these other do-files if and when
> necessary, improving
> (hopefully) user interface.  I was wondering if anybody has previous
> experiance at doing something similar, and they may be able
> to point out any
> other interesting features or any more documentation of the -window-
> command.

This is rather a general question, and I don't know what
specifics you want. In any case, you can have
do files calling other do files without any
superstructure of menus etc.

Some extra stuff is available from sources accessible after
typing

. findit window

As a very broad comment, I would add my impression
that Stata user-programmers have shown relatively
little interest in putting out Stata programs
with menus, dialogs, etc., at least
in terms of putting them in the public domain.
I stress _relatively_.  I guess wildly that

1. Most user-programmers are developing stuff
for their own projects in a research environment
and they themselves are using the command language
almost exclusively.

2. Programming an interface can easily take up
as much time as programming the body of the program.
It is the task less likely to get finished,
at least to the point of being pleased about it.

3. Beginner programmers want interfaces much more than
do many more experienced programmers, but by the time
you have learned more about Stata the command language
approach has taken hold and the desire faded away.
(Many analogues exist to this process.)

4. There are some interfaces developed
for teaching, especially for some Master's level
courses. Those I have heard of are all in the
biostatistics area. Although the Stata community is on the
whole very generous with what it does, even
to the point of shoving it down each other's throats,
there seems to be an understandable feeling sometimes
that what is developed at one institution for this
purpose is very much its own property. In any case,
it is often fine-tuned to the structure, content
and style of particular courses and not that
transferrable.

No hard evidence, just impressions!

Nick
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk

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