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Re: st: RE: New command in SSC: -checkfor2-

From   Jean-Benoit Hardouin <>
Subject   Re: st: RE: New command in SSC: -checkfor2-
Date   Mon, 19 Sep 2005 20:28:45 +0200

Dear Amadou,
I find several drawbacks in the programing of -checkfor2- :
- the use of "anything" instead of "varlist" in the syntax command avoids to use list of variables as var1-var10 or var*
- the idea to use a global macro variable is, from my mind, a bad idea (I prefer a "return" command)
- the "red" characters concerns by convention the error messages and are not adapted to an output
- the "outputs" as string are not very easy to read when we have full of variables (why not a table)
- the smcl syntax in the hlp file is uncorrect to format the paragraphs: the result is not very nice
- the classical way to present the hlp file is to separate the description of the options and the syntax (in 2 parts)
I hope this help !
The idea of your command is good, but your command is not very easy to use !

/*Amadou, pas de problème si tu as besoin d'aide en français pour améliorer ta commande !*/

Jean-Benoit Hardouin

Jean-Benoit Hardouin
Regional Health Observatory - Orléans - France

Observatoire Régional de la Santé du Centre
BP 2439
1, rue Porte Madeleine
45032 Orléans Cedex 1
tél : 02 38 74 48 80
fax : 02 38 74 48 81
Email :
********************************************* a écrit :

A long way to go before becoming a good stata programmer.
Thanks to Nick. I will make the necessary corrections today and resubmit. You've made two very good observations. And I really need that kind of remarks to help me improve my first steps as a real stata programmer. I am so used of nmissing that I guess I've used it without even noticing it. In the same token, working with DHS data usually require sorting data before attempting many managements. I guess there also, my old reflexes just prompted up, without even noticing. Again, thanks for your good remarks. In the future, I'll be more cautious to these kind of details. Amadou.

"Nick Cox" <> To: <> Sent by: cc: owner-statalist@hsphsun2. Subject: st: RE: New command in SSC: -checkfor2- 09/19/2005 01:05 PM Please respond to statalist

Note that -checkfor2- runs the user-written command -nmissing-
which would need to be installed separately if a user had
not previously installed that. The help file makes
a cross-reference to this program but does not spell out
that it is required.

As it happens, it is not clear why -nmissing- is used at
all, as it is only employed to pick up the number of
missings which could, and indeed should, be done much
more efficiently and directly with a -count-.

Another detail that is worthy of note is that -checkfor2-
-sort-s on each variable in turn. This is not documented,
appears unnecessary for what the program does, and is
indeed a misfeature as in general -checkfor2- will
change the sort order of your data. I think it is a
good principle that Stata commands should only change
the sort order of your data when that is a purpose
of the command and is also explicitly documented.


Thanks to Prof. Baum, a new Stata command is available from the SSC

-checkfor2- A Stata module to check whether a variable exists
or not in a


checkfor2 is a routine to check for existence of a list of
variables within a
(usually big) data set.
checkfor2 searchs through the data whether the variable
exists. If it does not,
a message is issued.
If it does, the program looks for missings structure.
Finally, if requested, the
program stores the
available variables in a macro for future use. A tolerance
level for missings
could also be set.
To install the package, type:

.ssc install checkfor2

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