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st: Top ten tricks [was: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Using postfile]


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   st: Top ten tricks [was: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: RE: Using postfile]
Date   Fri, 21 May 2004 14:01:40 +0100

Thanks very much. Being a bit smart with this stuff
depends on smarter people having written it. 

The deeper lesson is the extraordinary leverage
afforded by -by:-. 

That leads to me to ask a question: which would 
we nominate as (say) the top ten tricks which 
are the deepest and most Stataish features 
in what we use? What is _both_ simple _and_ deep? 
What leads to great results with at most a few 
lines of code? 

Let me explain what I mean. 

Something like 
-generate- is something utterly fundamental 
and extraordinarily useful and Stata could 
not be imagined without such a commnand. But the main
idea is a standard one. The same could be 
said about say -if-. 

Commands like -regress- or -stcox- (no 
relation) are very well done, and key tools 
in the toolkit: but the greatness
of the commands matches the greatness of 
the statistical idea and the associated machinery. 

On the other hand, -by:- still gives many 
pleasant surprises once you see how to use it. 
The more you use, the more you admire it. 

I'd nominate straight away 

1. -by:-. 

2. -foreach- or -forval- with varlists or numlists. 

3. -merge-. I rarely use it but -merge-masters 
have real leverage in file manipulations. 

4. -assert-. My candidate for the most 
underestimated command in Stata (second 
is -count-).  

5. -reshape-. 

Any other nominations? 

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

Amani Siyam 

<nice message>  

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