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Re: st: Datasignature and other boilerplate for do files


From   Joseph Coveney <jcoveney@bigplanet.com>
To   Statalist <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   Re: st: Datasignature and other boilerplate for do files
Date   Thu, 01 Jun 2006 10:21:04 +0900

Douglas Dalenberg wrote (excerpted):

The recent update of Stata included the new command -datasignature- as
advertised by William Gould.  It has already saved me from one
potentially serious blunder.  [redacted] I now include -datasignature-
after each use and save.

This leads me to ask myself what other commands am I missing in my do
file boilerplate that I grab every time I start a new do file?
Currently I have:
// Project name and key word description
// data set to use
// date
// version 9.2
Capture log close
Set more off
Cd "copy from my documents"
// log using "name", text replace
Use data, clear
Datasignature
Summarize

In part it is a matter of taste, but am I missing something obvious or
important?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It might not be worthwhile for day-to-day activities, but for "production"
work, you might want to consider affirmatively documenting that you've
updated Stata.  You can do this with an -update- without any arguments.

Also, you can use Stata's -creturn- features to document the current status
of other other things that change unobviously and that can lead to variation
in results from run to run, such as the random number seed, especially if
you don't routinely explicitly set it at the beginning of the session.

Version control and its documentation is always challenging, but if you're
calling custom-written ado-files that might be revised during the course of
the project, then consider documenting in the log the version and date of
auxilliary ado-files that are called.  This can be facilitated by including
the information in a star-bang comment in the first line, which allows the
information to be inserted into the log with a -which-.

Joseph Coveney

*! whenupdated.ado Version 1.0 2006-06-01
program define whenupdated
   version 9.2
   quietly update
   display
   display in smcl as text "  Stata executable updated to " ///
     as result %dCY-N-D r(inst_exe)
   display in smcl as text "Official ado-files updated to " ///
     as result %dCY-N-D r(inst_ado)
   display
end

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