From "Nick Cox" To Subject st: RE: adoption practices Date Mon, 25 Oct 2004 22:00:33 +0100

We agree; my comments were aimed at different arguments,
and thus different people.

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

Kit Baum

> Nick wrote in response to my posting
>
> I'd agree with Kit in broad terms, but invert that order.
>
> It can be pretty obvious to StataCorp and many others that
> (1) is true of a package, and apparent that (2) is true,
> but (3), expanded realistically, is the crunch.
>
> Any idea that (1) and (2) qualify a user-written program
> for adoption by StataCorp misses out what's involved:
>
> (a) scrutiny of code
> (b) scrutiny of help file
> (c) writing dialog if not done
> (d) writing and running test scripts
> (e) writing manual entry
> (f) tech support
>
>
> I did not intend to suggest in any way that (1) and (2) taken
> together
> are by any means sufficient; for an economist, (3) on my list---the
> provision of tech support (including maintenance, enhancements,
> documentation rewrites, etc.) is a MUCH bigger commitment, since its
> cost is the discounted present value of doing that work (and
> from time =
> t to +\infty.  Even at a high discount rate, that is a large number,
> and if it is not an affordable sum, Bill G. the economist will not be
> willing to shell it out.
>
> To say nothing of the costs of Nick's item #4 above: anything
> Stata has to "play nicely" with everything that is already there, and
> that requires (using Stata's published standards; see Bill G.'s SJ
> article on software certification) a LOT of testing (and retesting,
> every time a single new feature or bug fix is made! On every platform
> supporting Stata!) Yes, if I was on the StataCorp payroll, I
> would not
> be real keen on adoption, as much as I would want the package to do
> everything for everybody.
>
> StataCorp have, IMHO, taken an alternative strategy (to creating a
> bloated behemoth with manuals no one can lift): they have made it
> trivial for you, me, Nick, and everyone else to set up our favorite
> procedures and distribute them costlessly via SSC, user
> sites, SJ, etc.
> Do I have the same confidence that any user code (including
> my own) is
> as bulletproof as what comes out in 'update ado'? Of course not; the
> quality of the offfcial updates is what I'm paying good money
> for when
> I buy a new version of Stata (and those who are not eager to update
> ought to think about that). But just as in literature, some
> authors are
> better craftsmen/women than others...
>
> Kit Baum, Boston College Economics
> http://ideas.repec.org/e/pba1.html

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