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st: RE: version and other questions about -estout-

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: version and other questions about -estout-
Date   Wed, 21 Sep 2005 20:30:34 +0100

Ben Jann, as author of -estout-, may well want to respond 
to this, but I'll make a few general comments on the issue. 

Specifically, -estout- as currently on SSC 
specifies -version 8.2- and my guess is that Ben 
meant exactly that when he wrote it. Whether the file 
you talk about is the issue I don't know: more likely 
it is just the first thing to go wrong given your 
partial installation. 

In general, even if you are a Stata programmer and able 
and willing to modify programs to suit, it is far, far 
better to fix problems like yours by upgrading. That
is a counsel of perfection for those who can't find 
the money, but in this case the update from 8 to 8.2 
is free. 

Someone wrote to me that he had modified a 
program of mine back to -version 7-: it no longer 
worked, and he wanted to know why. I'm afraid that my reaction
was that he was now responsible for fixing the broken code
on his machine, or faced with the fact that he 
needed to upgrade if he wanted to use my program
(and many, many others that require a later 
version of Stata). 

A similar question arose almost exactly a month ago, 
and I repeat with minor modifications some comments made then: 

The Statalist FAQ implies that once you modify a 
program, it is then yours and you are responsible 
for it! 

In general, the idea of -version- is that the 
specified version represents the minimum
requirements needed by the command to work. 

But it is also possible for a programmer to specify, 
whether by accident or design, either a version that
is higher than this or a version that is lower
than this. This could arise for all sorts of 
reasons. Here are three examples. They are far 
from exhaustive. 

1. A programmer is developing a program under 
Stata 9. They thus believe that it works under
Stata 9. They have no time or interest in 
going back to Stata 8, or another version, 
to check that it would also work under that
version. Perhaps it will, perhaps it won't, but 
they can't be bothered to check that out. 

2. A programmer could set say -version 8- 
and then accidentally use some 
feature of version 9 -- and not notice
that -version 9- is required. This 
is the opposite of #1. 

3. Perhaps the help file was developed for 
a later version. That is, the program might 
work in an earlier version, but the help file 
won't show properly because it uses a later 
version of SMCL. 

Otherwise put, programmers are busy people 
too and often make short-cuts or consider
their own convenience. 


Radu Ban
> I started using the -estout- program on my work desktop but now I have
> problems when I try to install/run it on my personal laptop. My laptop
> is not connected to the internet so I have to copy the files manually,
> which I think may be why it's not working.
> First, does it work with a Stata version less than 8.2? I have 8.0 on
> my laptop. I installed the program on my laptop (by copying the files
> over) and I went ahead and assumed that it works with 8.0 so I changed
> the version line in the estout.ado from 8.2 to 8.0.
> Now it gives me an error message "tab defaults not available (file
> estout_tab.def not found)". So I copied the estout_tab.def(and the
> other 3 .def files) from my desktop to my laptop. But it keeps giving
> the same error message "file estout_tab.def not found" although the
> file is there (i.e. in the C\Stata8\ folder). What I am doing wrong?

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