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Re: st: RE: Beware of Stata's Syntax


From   "Ben Jann" <ben.jann@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: RE: Beware of Stata's Syntax
Date   Fri, 23 May 2008 14:34:42 +0200

I would not call this a bug. -syntax [varname]- is a special case of
-syntax [varlist]-. If no variables are specified then all variables
in the dataset are used (as is documented in -help syntax-). Since
[varname] only allows one variable, error is returned  if the data
contain more than one variable.

[I agree that this is somewhat disturbing. In my opinion, the default
should be to use no variables if no variables are specified and then
have a "default=all" option, to change that if needed.]

Specify

  syntax [varname(default=none)]

if you want to allow the program to be used without specifying a variable.

ben


On Thu, May 22, 2008 at 11:24 PM, Rodrigo Alfaro A. <ralfaro@bcentral.cl> wrote:
> .
>
> Using [varlist] instead of [varname] works
> RA
>
>
>
> -----Mensaje original-----
> De: owner-statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
> [mailto:owner-statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu] En nombre de Sergiy
> Radyakin
> Enviado el: Jueves, 22 de Mayo de 2008 05:18 p.m.
> Para: statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
> Asunto: st: Beware of Stata's Syntax
>
> Dear All,
>
> I wonder if this is an intended behaviour (quite dangerous from my point
> of view) or just a bug?
>
> // --- Begin of file SyntaxBug.do ---
>
> program drop _all
> drop _all
>
> generate VariableThatShouldNotBeUsed=.
>
> program define SyntaxBug
>    syntax [varname]
>    di `"`varlist'"'
> end
>
> SyntaxBug
>
> generate JustAnotherVariable=.
>
> SyntaxBug
>
> // --- End of file SyntaxBug.do ---
>
> If this is not an intended behaviour then it is actually two bugs in
> one, since under some conditions the program will process the variable
> that the user DID NOT specify (first call in the program above), and
> under other conditions it will refuse to work though it supposedly
> should (second call in the program above).
>
> If this is intended (may be there is an explanation) then it goes
> against the documentation, saying anything in [ ] is optional.
>
> Thank you,
>    Sergiy Radyakin
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