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Re: st: timestamps, GNU/make-style Stata program


From   James Muller <james.muller@internode.on.net>
To   statalist <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   Re: st: timestamps, GNU/make-style Stata program
Date   Thu, 16 Jun 2005 13:55:22 +1000

Okay, I'll do this properly then.

My feeling is that Dan is right, that it should be compiled. Returning a timestamp is a sufficiently fundamental task that it should be quick as possible. It is surprising that nothing like this exists in the standard Stata distribution - perhaps Statsoft could pick it up?

Further, it would be nice to implement a fuller/alternate range of OS functions that perform more of the Unix/Linux-style tasks. For example, a program to return the file permissions, or a program to recursively delete a directory structure, or an "ls" that returns the directory contents in r(). Most of these sorts of things are not terribly hard to implement and they seem to open up Stata quite a bit.

And then comes the Make. I won't do anything about all this for a few days, but will look into writing a proper make utility for Stata. It would be really neat to be able to stick to standard GNU/Make syntax, but that's a major effort. It may even be possible to modify the GNU/Make code to interface with Stata in its current form, though this might create a problem of OS-dependence; will see.

Yes, it is true, GNU/make, etc. already exist, are fast and are well-evolved, but they work within the host OS (the one running Stata). My view is that Stata itself is an operating system, so it would be nice to have similar functionality completely within it (_not_ using the system command).

Give me comments/suggestions/thoughts.

After I've delved into this a bit more I'll write a follow-up. I'll also be asking for people to compile binaries on different OS's, and if I do the Make program, will need testers on as many supported Stata host OS's as possible - for the future.

Cheers

James

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