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st: RE: Class programming in stata.

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   st: RE: Class programming in stata.
Date   Fri, 8 May 2009 10:46:46 +0100

I think what you can see, mostly in [P], is what there is. 

StataCorp introduced class programming primarily because they wanted and
needed it themselves, but there are delicate trade-offs: 

1. Few user-programmers have really wanted and needed it too. This
limits the likely usefulness of (say) yet another manual volume that
might be written. That would be a commitment of a very scarce resource,
top developer time, when many other projects are likely to be more
important to users, including user-programmers. (Of course, it could be
argued that another such volume would make it clear to user-programmers
exactly what they are missing, and I won't try to downplay that side.
But concretely I would say that meeting the demand for a
Mata-from-near-scratch book or NetCourse should be a much higher

2. There is not much point in trying to learn class programming in Stata
unless you already understand the key ideas. Conversely, there is little
point in StataCorp writing yet another introduction to class
programming. There are plenty enough out there. 

In practice, those user-programmers who have used class programming seem
to have done it like this: Find similar files in Stata that solve
problems close to yours. Get a sense of how and why they work. Edit
copies of those files to do something similar. 

Even though class ideas underlie Stata graphics, I've never needed to
use any class ideas in programming several Stata graphics commands. One
time I thought I really would have to bite the bullet, but a few
minutes' conversation with Vince Wiggins convinced me otherwise. All
that I needed was a simple trick, but that's another story. 

On your particular problem report that you tried the examples, but Stata
kept crashing, no comment is possible unless you tell us the specifics! 



Does anybody know where I can find resources to learn class
programming in Stata?

I know there is a resource on the stata' website but I don't find it
very intuitive. I've tried the examples but stata kept crashing.

I am looking for real-life examples such us the mata examples in Prof.
Baum's new and most welcomed book.

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