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RE: st: RE: Wish: add a -help , version()- option

From   "Nick Cox" <>
To   <>
Subject   RE: st: RE: Wish: add a -help , version()- option
Date   Mon, 10 Nov 2003 17:30:46 -0000

There's a bundle of issues here, some of which
require Stata Corp to comment.

To repeat, I understand Stata Corp policy to be to provide
a copy of oldstyle help if they think that you might really need
it. I think that the help for -for- is possibly a good
case: although its use is now strongly discouraged, it is
highly likely that a Stata 8 user might come across Stata
code with -for- uses included and be unclear how to
translate it, or even how to understand it.
It would be very easy for Stata Corp to add help for -for7-
and other things ad hoc given a demonstrated need.

As for a wholesale implementation, my guess like yours
is Stata Corp would not adopt shipping of all old help
files. Putting say the previous version's help files
on the website sounds more practical. I can't see that
modifying the executable is needed when internet
access solves the real problem.

Have you seen the help at -help version-?

Having said that, it strikes me that you most need is access to
an old copy of the _manuals_. There's probably someone local
who would be willing to hand them on at reasonable cost.


Renzo Comolli
> Yes, that's what I meant. I am suggesting Stata Corp put up
> more information
> on what the syntax used to be so that old (or oldstyle) user-written
> commands are more comprehensible to me (and possibly others).
> I have to admit that I was indeed unclear because what I am
> interested in
> goes beyond old commands and refers to limitations about
> variable name
> length, macro length...
> I am aware that something called -search , historical-
> already exists, but
> if it can already be used to accomplish what I would like, I am not
> proficient enough in guessing my keywords to use it profitably.
> I knew of -help graph7- but you can't find -help for7- for
> example (as an
> aside, I don't know how many people know of -help graph7-,
> I got alerted to
> the command7 trick for the very reason that originated my
> post, intreg7
> which is there as a command but not as a help file)
> A concrete example of why this is needed (or at least why I
> need it) is the
> following: -version 8: intreg- breaks fitstat. I of course
> emailed the
> author whether he could kindly provide support.
> Then I decided to open up fitstat and to try to fix it on
> my own. I believe
> I did limitedly to the part I need. But I am puzzled about
> the following
> . * to deal with rhsnam gt 80 characters, can't use string functions
> Of course my confusion might well be about Stata8
> Intercooled, because maybe
> that can't happen even in stata8 Intercooled, but it is my
> understanding
> that in Stata8 Intercooled the only limitations to 80
> characters is in the
> variable label, not for strings functions in general.
> Anyway, I think I got Stata8 right and I think I don't
> understand something
> else in Stata6. What else I don't understand, I am not sure
> and that's why I
> would need to read it up.
> Ways in which it could work:
> 1) load up previous helps in all copies of stata using the command7,
> command6, command5 ... Convention. Similarly for key words
> in order to use
> -search- e.g. -search mathematical7- ...
> But I think this would clutter the stata far too much, so
> although this is
> the easiest solution of all I did not even propose it.
> 2) put the previous helps on the StataCorp website as they
> are/were (i.e.
> without attaching the number version to the tail of the
> command) and create
> a new option for -help- and -search- option -, version()-
> so that if the
> option is specified the help knows it has to go on the
> StataCorp website in
> the place where the help for that version is stored.
> That's just a suggestion.
> Best,
> Renzo Comolli
> ----------------------------------------------
> /* From   "Nick Cox" <> */
> To   <>
> Subject   st: RE: Wish: add a -help , version()- option
> Date   Mon, 10 Nov 2003 09:27:26 -0000
> I am not clear on what you're
> asking for here. Is that Stata Corp put
> up more information on what the syntax
> used to be so that old (or oldstyle)
> user-written commands are more comprehensible
> to you?
> In what is to me the obvious example,
> the syntax for oldstyle -graph- is
> accessible at -help graph7- and that
> is needed to understand some old programs.
> Otherwise I would like to see some concrete
> example(s) of how this is needed and
> how you think it might work.

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