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Re: st: Copying Stata code with line numbers

From   Nick Cox <>
Subject   Re: st: Copying Stata code with line numbers
Date   Thu, 8 Mar 2012 18:35:07 +0000

There are many more than three; that's the key point.

I use Vim for most editing, including what many would do in a word processor.

Off the top of my head, the following are especially helpful:

1. Support for multiple windows (same file or different).

2. Versatile find and change features with regular expression support.

3. A command language that allows very fast operations once you know
it. (Sound familiar?)


On Thu, Mar 8, 2012 at 4:34 PM, Airey, David C
<> wrote:
> .
> I find the Stata do file editor just fine for complex data analysis.
> However, I also find the RStudio IDE enough for me.
> Maybe at some point I will depend more on an external editor. However,
> all my programs are built from smaller programs, and I never have
> had a program that needs more than a screen. What am I missing?
> I know some do spend 99% of their time in a text editor, and spend
> considerable effort linking (sometimes failing) the editor to other programs.
> Nick, what 3 aspects of Vim (or whatever) make it so useful in your
> personal Stata programming?
> -Dave
>> I don't know where Partho gets the impression that "very few regular
>> Stata programmers use the built-in editor".
>> More seriously, I am happy to agree that good text editors are
>> immensely helpful, but I'd place the emphasis elsewhere.
>> Let's not get sidetracked by distinguishing "regular programmers",
>> however defined, from other users, or by focusing on what they use,
>> not least because the do-file editor is not primarily designed as a
>> programmers' editor. It is for do-file editing, primarily. So, it is
>> aimed very much at all users who are not satisfied by interactive
>> sessions in which each command is typed one at a time. That should be
>> most users. (A do-file is not a program as such. Whether it defines a
>> program is a different issue.)
>> A little history here: When the do-file editor was introduced into
>> Stata there were already very well-developed text editors in existence
>> and Stata's developers were very well aware that many users were using
>> them intensively: after all, that was precisely what the developers
>> were doing themselves. Also, there was not, and is not, any kind of
>> consensus on the leading text editor, even within users of a single
>> operating system. Even among Unix users, there was much friendly and
>> some angry disagreement between users of vi, emacs and other editors.
>> So, there was no real mileage in announcing to Stata users that the
>> standard would be to use a particular external editor, even one that
>> was free. (It remains true, I think, that many Windows users make
>> little or no use of text editors any way; most of the students I ask
>> (age ~ 20) don't seem to know about Notepad, not that they are missing
>> much.)
>> In essence, the Stata do-file editor was originally _designed_ to be a
>> very simple editor, one that could be learned very quickly and had
>> just about the minimum needed. Criticising it as unsophisticated is
>> like criticising a bicycle for not being a plane.
>> Over the years  StataCorp have subverted that original aim to some
>> extent by adding some features in most if not all subsequent releases,
>> but there is no intention to try to match the better-developed editors
>> in functionality.
>> I program in Stata and when that gets a little serious I always switch
>> to my favourite text editor, which happens to be Vim. But I use
>> Stata's do-file editor daily too. It's fine, indeed very helpful, for
>> little editing jobs, not least in fiddling with code or data fragments
>> from Statalist questions. I suspect that's a common mix of styles.
>> Nick

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