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Re: st: re: Stata Technical Bulletin


From   "Sergiy Radyakin" <serjradyakin@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: re: Stata Technical Bulletin
Date   Fri, 15 Feb 2008 14:46:23 -0500

On 2/15/08, Kit Baum <baum@bc.edu> wrote:
> Nick Winter said, in re manuals in PDF format,
>
> My sense of the flavor of comments when this comes up are
>
> (1) StataCorp says nothing
>
> (2) Users speculate that StataCorp is unlikely to do this, as manuals
> are an important revenue stream for StataCorp, and once they exist as
> PDFs they will inevitably be floating around on the internet.
>
> (3) Users also note that the online help is vast.
>
>
> StataCorp staff _have_ spoken on numerous occasions to this point at
> the "Wishes and Grumbles" session at SUG meetings here and abroad.
> Their bottom line answer is that this will not happen, as there is
> (re (2)) no way to secure the PDFs. However, in what I take as a
> response to users' concerns, StataCorp have enhanced the on-line help
> considerably to include, for instance, the important information on
> the return values provided by each command (material that used to
> only live in the manuals). Nevertheless, there are manuals which
> every user should have access: particularly the Users Guide, Data
> Management manual and if using Mata, the Mata manuals. Those are very
> worthwhile investments.
>
> Someone asked earlier if the web version of the online help is the
> same as available in the program. With the exception of the
> hyperlinks missing from the web version, I believe that is the case.
>
> Kit
>

Just wanted to add regarding the online version of the documentation/help:
while the contents may be identical, the convenicence of working with
the web based help is far better than that of the built it smcl
version.

To see that search for "observation numbers" in Stata and "Stata
"Observation numbers"" in Google (omit the external quotes in both
cases). In Google the help for List appears, where it is described how
you can suppress them in the list's output. All sort of things appear
among the results of the search in Stata. Interestingly help for
"List" is not among the results, however there is a help for "Memory",
where there is not a word about observations. It is really hard to
find anything in the standard help, unless you know exactly, what you
are looking for: like "help save".

The viewer itself lacks basic necessities like the minimize/maximize
buttons, the "refresh" could have been automatic upon resize, fonts
could have been zoomable with the mousewheel, etc.

So given that contents is the same, web version still has some
advantages over the native viewer-based version.

Regards,
    Sergiy
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