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Re: st: Running stata from Excel : why not you can with SAS
At 09:18 AM -0500 3/9/05, Stephen Graham wrote:
SAS introduced SAS Integration Technologies a few years ago, and I
have had success in creating excel application that can "talk" to
SAS in an appreciable way. I like the fact I can create a very
simple front-end (excel) to complicated programs. This gives the
user a front-end that is easily recognizable and common.
Being that I worked for a STATA owner for almost 5 years (Hi, to
all WC people who are reading) I am an extreme advocate for STATA.
Is there a way of doing a similar thing with STATA? I would love to
bring STATA's superior everything to the table.
There are several issues here, one of which is the contention that
another interface is somehow more "user friendly" than Stata's own
(many of us, I think, would disagree). However, there certainly are
legitimate reasons to want to interact with Stata from other
applications (e.g., integration with a text editor, driving Stata
from a cgi script, etc.). And currently it *is* possible to launch
Stata and to pass it a do-file for processing. This can be done
directly from the shell in Unix/Linux/OS X and also via Apple Events
in OS X (and I believe in Windows too -- I just don't know how).
This might be used in conjunction with Stata's ODBC capability to set
up some limited interaction between something like Excel and Stata.
The problem with facilities for inter-process communication is that
they tend (necessarily) to be platform-specific. Thus, to develop
these StataCorp would either have to spend a substantial amount of
effort to make them work on all platforms, or disenfranchise some if
An excellent way to make a specific task "more accessible" in Stata
is to write an ado-file which wraps together several commands. This
can be made very easy-to-use (e.g., it can involve interactive
prompts or even be menu-driven), but has the advantage that it is
accessible to anyone using Stata, regardless of which platform
they're on. Moreover, another important advantage of this strategy
is that it is easy to expose the underlying process (i.e., by
incorporating a noisily option), which is an excellent way (1) to
reassure the user that he or she knows exactly what is being done,
and (2) to help teach the user how to use Stata.
Note that even with this approach, there are ways that you can
facilitate the use of other applications together with Stata. For
example, in our group we use an effort reporting system to record
time spent on specific tasks. We have several input interfaces none
of which involve Stata but each of which is able to save the data in
files which Stata can read. We then have an ado-file which people
can use to summarize their effort and to generate reports. Although
this is not as neat as a fully integrated application, the two work
very effectively together.
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