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st: Is it possible to read user input from the console in Mata?

From   Aaron Kirkman <>
Subject   st: Is it possible to read user input from the console in Mata?
Date   Sat, 17 Nov 2012 15:26:13 -0600

Dear Statalist,

I'm hoping to write a Mata program that takes input from a user, but I
haven't found a way to do this within Mata. -- search input, all --
shows me several possibilities, but all of them involve switching back
into Stata and taking input that way.

1. The --input-- command. This isn't exactly what I'm looking for,
because I would like something simpler, like the --cin-- function of
C++ or -- fgets -- in C. It seems like overkill to use --input-- when
a user simply needs to enter one value in response to a prompt.

2. Dialog programming. Once again, this seems like a heavy solution
for reading single values.

Looking in  [M-4] io, I don't see any other options. Most of the
functions listed here deal with either console output or file
input/output, not console input.

Are there any other options, besides the difficult (for me, at least)
task of writing an input plugin in C? I realize Stata/Mata may not be
designed for interactive programs like this, but I thought I would
pursue it as a good way to learn Mata.

Thank you,
Aaron Kirkman
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