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RE: st: Stata 9: first impressions?
First, let's make sure that Mata is correctly
so named and stamp out "MATA" before it
spreads like a Statalist Transmitted Disease.
Stata started out in life as STATA
but quickly became Stata, but some users are
still 19 years out of date. The principle is
simply that Stata and Mata are invented words,
not acronyms, and so are not capitalised
throughout. The fact is also that these
are the names given by StataCorp.
On the main point about Mata, I think the
analogue is much more nearly C than C++ in
terms of size, complexity and philosophy.
But whatever the comparison, Mata is
absolutely and completely optional for
Stata users. You need never type
a single line of Mata, or write a
single Mata program. If it doesn't appeal,
it looks too difficult, or you haven't
the time, that's your choice, and you
can still find Stata very useful, just
The situation is just like that with any other
programming sub-language of Stata.
Perhaps 100 people write Stata programs
seriously and also put them in the
public domain; no doubt rather more people
write Stata programs, often but not always
more specific, and keep quiet about it.
Many more users never write programs at
all, but they still in _all_ cases
gain from the programmability of Stata.
Even if you never use user-written Stata
programs, you can't use Stata seriously
without making heavy use of Stata programs.
Mata will be the same. You needn't use
it directly and deliberately to benefit from it.
The leverage it gives to Stata's developers
and to user-programmers will benefit all.
> 2. MATA looks like a great addition, but requires a
> whole new level of programming sophistication beyond
> ado file programming. It requires at skill level
> comparable to that require for C++ programming. This
> in my opinion is a step back, in the sense that
> programming levels try to become more real language
> like and less like machine language. Mata goes in the
> opposite direction making code programming more
> machine-like. For us not accustomed to program in C,
> programming in Mata, beyond a few simple lines of
> code, will definitely be a challenge and maybe
> frustrating and discouraging.
> This is only my first impression and I may change my
> mind once I begin learning Mata.
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