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Re: st: Why does Stata return an invalid syntax error in this ado file?


From   Nick Cox <njcoxstata@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu
Subject   Re: st: Why does Stata return an invalid syntax error in this ado file?
Date   Fri, 19 Oct 2012 23:53:53 +0100

General tips

1. Use -set trace on- to see where the program stops.

2. Always report the return code. Here it is 197, meaning that
-syntax- itself is problematic.

Specific tips

3. The bug is that the argument of -generate()- should be given as
"string", not "String".

4. Your -generate()- option is compulsory. If it is empty, the program
won't run. Hence the -if- test is superfluous. Your program can start

program define statetofips
         version 8
         syntax varname , Generate(String)
         quietly  {
                 gen int `generate' = .
                 replace `generate' = <stuff>
                 ...
         }

5. Other small changes suggested above.

On Fri, Oct 19, 2012 at 11:18 PM, Aaron Kirkman
<ak1795mailserv@gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm writing a simple ado file, --statetofips--, to assign fips codes
> to observations based on the state name. If I run the following code,
> I do not receive an error:
>
> ##
> clear
> input str8 state
> Alabama
> Alabama
> Alabama
> Alaska
> Alaska
> Alaska
> Arizona
> Arizona
> Arizona
> Arkansas
> end
>
> gen int fips = .
> replace fips = 1 if lower(state) == "alabama"
> replace fips = 2 if lower(state) == "alaska"
> replace fips = 4 if lower(state) == "arizona"
> ##
>
> However, if I run this code, I receive an "invalid syntax" error:
>
> ##
> clear
> input str8 state
> Alabama
> Alabama
> Alabama
> Alaska
> Alaska
> Alaska
> Arizona
> Arizona
> Arizona
> Arkansas
> end
>
> discard
> statetofips state, generate(fips)
> ##
>
> These are the contents of --statetofips.ado--, which is located in the
> same directory as the above do file:
>
> ##
> program define statetofips
>         syntax varname , Generate(String)
>         if "`generate'" != "" {
>                 quietly gen int `generate' = .
>         }
>         replace `generate' = 1 if lower(`varlist') == "alabama"
>         replace `generate' = 2 if lower(`varlist') == "alaska"
>         replace `generate' = 4 if lower(`varlist') == "arizona"
>         replace `generate' = 5 if lower(`varlist') == "arkansas"
>         replace `generate' = 6 if lower(`varlist') == "california"
>
> end
> ##
>
> I reduced --statetofips.ado-- to its simplest form, and the error persists:
>
> ##
> program define statetofips
>         syntax varname , Generate(String)
> end
> ##
>
>
> What is causing the syntax error in the ado file?
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