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Re: st: STATA Wish List

From   Richard Williams <[email protected]>
To   [email protected]
Subject   Re: st: STATA Wish List
Date   Wed, 20 Oct 2004 08:28:40 -0500

At 11:14 AM 10/20/2004 +0100, [email protected] wrote:
However SPSS (although I hate to admit it) does have some very nice little
features which are absent in STATA:
To place these differences in perspective: My Stata8 and ado directories consume about 37MB on my hard disk. SPSS takes up 237MB. Now, some of this no doubt reflects statistical functionality that SPSS has that Stata doesn't, some of which I might be able to add via user-written programs or writing my own. But, I imagine a huge amount of the difference reflects the user interface and all the options for formatting output. Some of SPSS's good ideas may be cloneable, and improvements in the data editor strike me as being a great idea. But, by keeping the program leaner and more open to programmers, Stata may gain greater functionality in exchange for sacrificing a bit in the way of aesthetics.

It also wouldn't surprise me if SPSS code isn't as efficient as it could be. Syntax varies wildly across commands, making me suspect that routines don't build as much on a common core as Stata does. SPSS has better pull-down menus, but it also needs them because nobody could remember the syntax for all of its commands. With Stata, you can often guess the basic syntax of a command even if you have never used it before.

Finally, I'll just note that, for my classroom handouts, I routinely highlight the output I want in Stata, do copy text, and paste into Word using Courier New font (8 pt. to 10 pt. usually). Then, I'll use Word's "keep lines together" to prevent awkward page breaks. It is a little more tedious than copying from SPSS, but it doesn't kill me (although if I was mass producing tables it might).

Richard Williams, Notre Dame Dept of Sociology
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