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st: re:

From   Kit Baum <>
Subject   st: re:
Date   Wed, 22 Jul 2009 08:24:56 -0400

Nick said

Kit's point that Martin's code fails if variable abbreviation is disallowed is undoubtedly correct, but as yet this issue has not been a source of much misunderstanding on this list. I don't think it is at all practical to insist that code givers should never use variable abbreviation, not least because I wouldn't guarantee to do that myself, for all that I agree that Kit has a strong argument.

I agree that this "polite" behavior cannot be enforced, and is certainly not fodder for the Statalist FAQ. But I would point out, as the maintainer of the SSC Archive, that at various times there have been submissions of code to the SSC Archive that fail to work when varabbrev is set to off. That is absolutely unacceptable, yet not detectable by the user-programmer who habitually has the default setting of varabbrev on. When those issues are detected, I have insisted that the author rewrite their code to be more robust. I personally think it would be good practice to avoid relying on Stata's varabbrev (just as most users of Word have learnt not to rely on auto- completion) in code they share with others. Abbreviating command names is one thing; most users don't mind seeing g for generate or reg for regress. Likewise, wild-carding of variable names is a key element of the language. But relying on varabbrev is IMHO a bad habit, and one that official Stata certainly should not facilitate as it does.

Kit Baum   |   Boston College Economics & DIW Berlin   |
An Introduction to Stata Programming |
   An Introduction to Modern Econometrics Using Stata  |

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