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RE: st: New version of -descsave- on SSC


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   RE: st: New version of -descsave- on SSC
Date   Wed, 27 Apr 2005 17:54:42 +0100

Richard Williams
 
> To clarify my concern - the -spost- routines have this painstaking 
> customization where they look for specific program names, and 
> if they don't 
> find that name they don't work.  So, for example, they might 
> work fine with 
> -prog-, but if -prog- gets renamed to -prog8- they won't 
> work.  

I can't speak for -spost-. But in general user-written programs
that depend on other user-written programs will indeed be broken 
if those other programs become unavailable. But how would 
this arise? 

Suppose I announce on Statalist that my program 
-foo- has been upgraded to exploit's Stata 9 new commands 
and that the old -foo- is now -foo8- and frozen as is. If
you are still on Stata 8, you clearly should not replace
the -foo- you previously installed by -foo8-. No, the -foo8- 
is just for people who see this and are interested in the 
program but are still on Stata 8. If they want to 
build something that calls -foo8- then that is 
surely their concern. This is all one reason for this 
numbering convention. 

They may also be broken if the program name is adopted as 
an official command name. 

The solutions are various and include fixing the program. 

In some cases copying the user-written program wholesale and 
making it a subroutine is good practice, which I've often 
recommended, subject to permission from the original author. 

> But of course that is a potential 
> issue with 
> Stata's own updates, e.g. Stata might change something about 
> -mlogit- that 
> could zap -spost-'s ability to handle it.)

Similar comments. Often oldstyle stuff remains available
under version control. 

More generally: the downside of user-written programs 
is that other users have to be circumspect about what 
they install, and aware that, for example, users 
disappear or fail to fix their programs. 

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

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