Stata The Stata listserver
[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date index][Thread index]

st: Object oriented help files (and Tabling: an agenda)

From   Fred Wolfe <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   st: Object oriented help files (and Tabling: an agenda)
Date   Wed, 08 Oct 2003 07:21:31 -0500

Following on the thoughtful suggestions of Nick Cox (and Phil Ryan), I want to pick up a point that Nick made and disagree slightly or, at least, suggest another approach. Nick wrote:

Problem 1: awareness


I think one of the major problems users face is just to be aware of
what is possible, given the multiplicity of commands.

Available solutions: At some point, there is no substitute
for reading the manual and playing with the existing
commands, e.g. so that you know the strengths and weaknesses
of -tabulate-, -table-, -tabstat-, -tabdisp- etc. (and
-list- etc.). Some articles in the Stata Journal aim
to provide comparative material.

Required solutions: More documentation of various kinds!
More FAQs please. Anyone who was willing to write a book
on Stata tabulation tasks and tricks would not make the conceptual
breakthrough which Deans and Chairs expect, but they would
be able to start financing their retirement home.
I think that while additional documentation is on the mark (particularly for documentation mavens [an OK word according to the OED], of which I am one, what is required is practical and usable documentation. As I have grown to love Stata 8's graphics, I have generated unbridled animosity to the graphics help system and manual, having spent (wasted) hours trying to find things to make the graph I needed.

I think what is needed is a help system that displays all sorts of graphs so that one can go to it and say, "That's the graph I want."

What this has to do with Nick's suggestion above is this. What I would like is a series of pictures of different kind of tables, with pointers to the commands that generate them. Instead, I have to search for tabulation related commands -"findit guess the key words if you are lucky"-, read the help files and, assuming I found the command I thought I was looking for, try to figure out if this is what I need.

So, what perhaps is needed is a "display help system." Graphs, tables, regression output queries form a large part of this list. Would an alternative help system that addresses output not be useful?

Fred Wolfe

Fred Wolfe
National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases
Wichita, Kansas
Tel (316) 263-2125 Fax (316) 263-0761
[email protected]

* For searches and help try:

© Copyright 1996–2024 StataCorp LLC   |   Terms of use   |   Privacy   |   Contact us   |   What's new   |   Site index