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Re: st: use13 : an experimental Stata command to import datasets in new Stata 13 format into older versions of Stata


From   Richard Williams <richardwilliams.ndu@gmail.com>
To   statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu, "statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu" <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   Re: st: use13 : an experimental Stata command to import datasets in new Stata 13 format into older versions of Stata
Date   Wed, 19 Jun 2013 17:36:51 -0400

I just took a file that opened fine in Stata 12, saved it in Stata 13 format, and now Stata 12 won't read it. I think that is the sort of thing Sergiy has in mind with his proposed -savemin- command. The file doesn't require any of the special features of Stata 13 but still Stata 12 can't read it. So the command, if it existed, would have to decide "Is there some aspect of this data that could not be perfectly converted into Stata 7 format? If not, save it in Stata 7 format. If it can't be saved in Stata 7 format, then see if it can be saved in Stata 8/9/10/11/12 format."

I think it could be a useful command, but personally I have Stat/Transfer and the people I work with usually aren't that hopelessly behind in their versions. But since many will be behind for a while, I am going to have to remember to save things in Stata 12 format or earlier. The mega strings and other format changes don't seem to be anything I need immediately.

If I recall correctly, one of the last updates of Stata 11 allowed it to read Stata 12 files. But the changes between versions were pretty minor and I would be surprised if Stata 12 is updated to read Stata 13 files.

At 03:15 PM 6/19/2013, Nick Cox wrote:
There are two kinds of questions here:

1. What StataCorp might do; or should do, on which users can express opinions

2. What user programmers offer as extra programs. The _possibilities_
are defined by the fact that StataCorp publishes its data file formats
and the _constraints_ by the extent to which old versions of Stata can
not do everything that new versions can.

I disagree with this:

> The feature that lacks in Stata is really: savemin (imaginary name), which would > examine the file and save it in the lowest possible version that would not incur
> losses (that is really a job for save, but let's not get into that).
> With that, many
> datasets will end up somewhere in the v4-v7 range (imho).

Or rather, I don't think this means much without a definition of
"would not incur losses".

Nick
njcoxstata@gmail.com


On 19 June 2013 19:25, Sergiy Radyakin <serjradyakin@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 1:11 PM, Nick Cox <njcoxstata@gmail.com> wrote:
>> I have no access to Stata 13, but there is precisely no point to
>> -saveold- if Stata 12 is presented with data features it can not
>> handle. So, at best long string variables will get truncated at 244
>> characters. That's my guess.
>
> The idea is to be creative and make the content accessible in Stata 12. There
> are several strategies: splitting long variables into chunks,
>  (resume-->resume_1, resume_2, resume_3....)
> each no longer than 244, or dumping the long variables into a text file,
> from which the users can pull the strings using alternative methods, etc.
> The simplest approach is to truncate the data, but it is not
> necessarily the best.
>
> But the bulk of the users are not going to use the new features of Stata 13
> right away. Just as many of the datasets that are shipped with Stata 12 can
> be resaved for Stata 9 without any losses. Consider auto.dta for example.
> Secondly, since the features of Stata 13 were kept out of public view, noone > was planning for them in advance, and having the possibility of long strings
> would not change the questionnaires being designed this month, and the data
> collected using them in the next half a year.
>
> The feature that lacks in Stata is really: savemin (imaginary name), which would > examine the file and save it in the lowest possible version that would not incur
> losses (that is really a job for save, but let's not get into that).
> With that, many
> datasets will end up somewhere in the v4-v7 range (imho).
>
> Another strategy could have been dual compatibility: SPSS v7 can read SPSS
> v11 datasets. It does not understand everything, but the core of data
> can be read,
> and decoration is often (not always, but often) not essential.
>
>>
>> I hope you don't get troubled by users who imagine that you have found
>> a cheap way for them to upgrade without paying!
>
> Nothing in the announcement implies that. It is not an upgrade for Stata 12 that > delivers features of Stata 13. It is a way to read data from Stata 13 subject to
> a) limitations of the existing Stata versions and b) my own goals and
> time/effort
> constraints. Not sure whether the same argument applies to e.g. StatTransfer,
> which is doing a similar conversion, though having had more time for
> implementation (and [hypothetically] more insider information).
>
> Best, Sergiy
>
>
>> Nick
>> njcoxstata@gmail.com
>>
>>
>> On 19 June 2013 18:05, Sergiy Radyakin <serjradyakin@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> And just as long they continue to "forget" doing this.
>>>
>>> Also, I am not sure what is the behavior of -saveold- in Stata 13.
>>> What does it do with the long strings? The documentation is only
>>> saying "saves the dataset currently in memory on disk ... in Stata 12
>>> format". How is conversion done?
>>>
>>> Sergiy.
>>>
>>> On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 1:00 PM, Nick Cox <njcoxstata@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Note that getting your colleagues using Stata 13 to use -saveold- to
>>>> save their datasets is the age-old solution to this.
>>>>
>>>> Nick
>>>> njcoxstata@gmail.com
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> On 19 June 2013 17:54, Sergiy Radyakin <serjradyakin@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>>> -use13-  is an experimental Stata command to import datasets in new
>>>>> Stata 13 format into older versions of Stata
>>>>>
>>>>> The dataset format has changed in the new version of Stata to be
>>>>> released on June 24, 2013 to accommodate new features.
>>>>>
>>>>> The command will help users who can't upgrade immediately, but need to
>>>>> load the data produced by Stata 13 (e.g. by their colleagues who have
>>>>> upgraded) during the transition period.
>>>>>
>>>>> The use, limitations, and installation instructions are described here:
>>>>> http://www.adeptanalytics.org/radyakin/stata/use13/use13.htm
>>>>>
>>>>> Best, Sergiy Radyakin
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Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
OFFICE: (574)631-6668, (574)631-6463
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