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Re: st: Re: St: stataweave

From   David Airey <david.airey@Vanderbilt.Edu>
Subject   Re: st: Re: St: stataweave
Date   Mon, 23 Feb 2009 12:20:02 -0600

On Feb 23, 2009, at 11:26 AM, Neil Shephard wrote:

It is indeed a worthy goal, but I think its not entierly down to those
who write software to simplify the process.

No argument from me.

It is interesting StatWeave is trying to make this kind of process available to OpenOffice formats, and I thought it worth pointing out. Rising must think something similar or he would not present talks at user group meetings on this topic. I was surprised to note that Sweave was apparently limiting Paul Murrell's efforts on book production efforts <> leading him to conclude that other open source XML tools were favorable to Sweave. Reproducible research is a well articulated set of principles, but the implementation is moving. Knuth started it all, later Sweave came along, and later SASWeave, and now a cross-platform StatWeave, but then Paul Murrell says XML is the future (which seems very mixable with Open Office). I do input Stata tables and figures into LaTeX documents, but it is worth knowing what others are thinking or doing, especially for those who are willing to put in the time.

The reluctance to take up such an approach is in part down to the
users who aren't willing to put the effort into learning something
new, but instead are happy to plod along copying and pasting with the
software they were taught at school/picked up what was available.
Certainly my current line manager encourages this approach in others
(I ignore it and write up my work as self-contained reports in LaTeX,
providing separate tables (as *.csv) and figures (as stand-alone
graphics) for anything that is required in other people's work).

After all there becomes a trade-off point where the amount of effort
going into making things "accessible and easy" isn't much when you are
trying to do so for something thats relatively simple.  However,
applying the same principle to a more complex process such as
"Sweaving" results in diminishing returns for those who are tasked
with doing the simplification.  That is to say they could spend a
long, long time trying to make something which requires the end user
to learn a little bit, when realistically the end user should learn
how to do that, and the people tasked with simplifying things could be
working more productively elsewhere (e.g. longtables's).


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