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st: seeking text that explains how to program

From   Jacob Wegelin <>
Subject   st: seeking text that explains how to program
Date   Fri, 18 Apr 2008 18:08:39 -0400 (EDT)

Am I correct in believing that neither the Web nor the help files is a substitute for the hard-copy Stata manuals?

Beyond Christopher F. Baum's helpful SUGUK 2005 invited lecture, "A little bit of Stata programming goes a long way", what text(s) or article(s) or url(s) would be helpful for one who wishes to learn how to automate procedures in Stata, i.e., to write programs in Stata?

For instance:

I'm a raw beginner with Stata's "program" command and with Stata's programming power in general, and don't understand the syntax.

The following help file: gives a tantalizing bit of information and then says

See [U] 18 Programming Stata for a description of programs.

See [P] trace for information on debugging programs.

Neither of these is a link, which suggests that this information is simply not available on the web or in the built-in Stata help files.

Also, the help files for "local", for "postfile", and for some other commands appear to leave some questions unanswered. For instance, how exactly does one specify the types of variables in "postfile" so as not to get an error? The help file appears to hint that the default type for a variable is numeric, and that groups of variables with the same type should be listed in parentheses:

postfile `memhold' a b str20 c double(d e f) using "`results'"

but it doesn't state this explicitly. Is there a book that explains this all for beginners?

Thanks for any info


Jacob A. Wegelin Assistant Professor
Department of Biostatistics
Virginia Commonwealth University
730 East Broad Street Room 3006
P. O. Box 980032
Richmond VA 23298-0032

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