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RE: st: RE: Clickable examples in ado help files


From   "Nick Cox" <n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk>
To   <statalist@hsphsun2.harvard.edu>
Subject   RE: st: RE: Clickable examples in ado help files
Date   Thu, 18 Sep 2003 21:48:20 +0100

Mark Schaffer
 
> Question 2:
> 
> Shouldn't the {stata} smcl command be as clever about :s as 
> the {net} 
> smcl command?  This would eliminate the need for messy little 
> auxiliary files in a command package.
> 
> Comment:
> 
> I don't think I would -preserve- the data etc., because I 
> would want 
> the user to be able to click on various examples 
> separately.  Rather, 
> I would leave it to the user to voluntarily clear memory before 
> clicking on the line in the help display that loads the example 
> dataset.  If Stata complains that it can't load the example data 
> because the existing data would be lost, that's fine by me.

I went home for dinner. Fortunately, Vince answered 
the programming bit in the interim, but I can add a 
little arm-waving. 

This question is about programming style and etiquette. 
Often and often a program writer stops at a certain point 
for all sorts of reasons, and says, in effect, "My program 
does this. If you want a program to do something else,
feel free to write it yourself!"

Nevertheless, in practice, clickable examples have 
been introduced by Stata developers with a certain 
sales pitch, namely that you can try on the fly, 
and not disturb what you're doing. That's a precedent 
for user-programmers to match, it seems to me. 

Personally, I see a clickable example which 
requires a prior -clear- as a little user-unfriendly. 

Nick 
n.j.cox@durham.ac.uk 
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