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RE: st: RE: egen & sum()

From   David Kantor <>
Subject   RE: st: RE: egen & sum()
Date   Wed, 26 Nov 2008 07:47:12 -0500

Here's a suggestion to StataCorp and to anyone who writes programs and then changes the names of programs or options or syntax.
(I've done this on at least one occasion.)
Allow the old names or syntax to continue working, but issue a warning message alerting users to the change, whenever they are used. For those who would object to the possible intrusion of these messages, perhaps there could be an environmental variable to switch this on and off.

At 07:17 AM 11/26/2008, you wrote:
At 05:29 AM 11/26/2008, Nick Cox wrote:
Although it's StataCorp call, there is no obvious reason why any of the
old names should ever stop working. The most obvious reason for change
is that StataCorp might want to reclaim some of them, but as said they
are now considered objectionable.

I don't know about these particular functions, but Statacorp's policy in the past has been that names can stop working once you get to the next version, e.g. if a name was changed in Stata 9 the old name will continue to work in Stata 9, but once you get to Stata 10 it is only guaranteed to work under version control. Personally, I would prefer that old names continue to work even without version control for all eternity. The now undocumented -index- function was brought back to life when several baffled and bewildered people who couldn't figure out what the new name was requested it.

It probably is better to break down and learn and use the new names, since anyone else who is reading your code will be baffled and bewildered by your use of functions that are no longer documented.

Given that, thanks to version control, very few commands ever die completely, I continue to wish that there was some easy way to get help for all these things that now go undocumented.

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