SAS Version 8 - First
Version 8 in Windows NT
Richard A. DeVenezia
One users observations Jan-Apr'00
Version 8 is out and I've started using it for new projects and
converting old version 6.12 AF applications to version 8. Overall the
transformation is quite remarkable and will take a little getting used to.
Despite all the great new stuff, many of us are in the position of converting
our now 'legacy' programs and applications to run as flawlessly in the new
environment as it did in the old environment.
Also, in the new environment, many of the SAS windows are still
presented using the version 6 display manager look and feel and do not meet the
expectations or intuitions of a user brought up in Microsoft Windows and Office
Suite. The always difficult task of mixing old and new has resulted in some
Selecting text in the Definition
- Typical windows 'selected text' behaviours are not exhibited.
- I can not copy (Ctrl-C), cut (Ctrl-X), delete (Backspace) or
This window should be replaced with a dialog using native host look and
- Properties window is the same as the View Columns
window but has different modality, why ?
- Properties is SAS modal (can do nothing else while window
- View Columns is non-modal (can do anything else while
window is open)
- There is no way to visually know which attribute values are editable
- The editable attributes should be visually tagged (e.g.
italicized or bolded or another column preceding
the attribute with an asterik (*) or the attribute name is followed by an
asterik or separate attributes based on editability with a horizontal rule
between editable and non-editable.
- Some attributes are not 'intelligent' in knowing their editability in
a higher context
- For example: In the Properties:General Properties window
of a data set, the Member name attribute is not editable. However, in the Explorer window a data set is renameable.
- Attributes that are 'changeable' in a higher context should be
allowed to change in a lower context unless the context is vague or
- All editable attributes should be done in the Property window
- Opening a Modify dialog to change a name/value pair is
burdensome and tiring on the user.
- Multiple attribute editing in-window should be allowed.
example: I should be able to drag a box around several attributes and use the
context menu to Modify them. Each editable attribute would display it's
in-window value editing widget (e.g. similar to the SAS/AF attributes
- There is no undo feature in the layout window to undo object
deletion, creation or modification.
- PMENU defect
(discovered by moi?). A frame's SCL that tries to use the
pmenu() or .pmenuEntry will NOT work if, the frame, at
compile-time, has a blank .pmenuEntry and .bannerType=None.
- There is no way to 'store' or 'print' the list of Components that
make up a frame.
Any window containing a table or grid
- typically Attribute Name / Value displays
- 'Quick' resizing of columns features are present but could be
- Current: Double clicking the column dividing bar in the header
This resizes the columns to a size equal to the width of the widest
item in the column.
- Improved: CTRL + PLUS (Control Key and the Keypad Plus Sign
This should resize each column in the grid to a size equal to
the width of the widest item in the column.
This feature is present in
Microsoft Explorer Details View and other Windows apps such as Winzip. I
believe the feature is an aspect of the windows class SysListView32.
(Note: Some, but not all SAS, windows containing a grid have a
Reset push button that causes each column to be resized to width of
widest item in the column)
Select an Entry Dialog
- Does not support motion via keyboard typing
For example: typing
an 'L' does not move the cursor to the first item that starts with the letter
- There is no 'Recent' tab that lists recently opened catalogs and/or
Selecting a library out of dozens, and then selecting a catalog
out of several dozens and then selecting an entry out of even more dozens is
very tiring and promotes carpal tunnel syndrome.
The fact that cursor
motion by typing is not present only further aggravates this user.
Command Bar history
Kudos to SAS Institute for maintaining command history across
More kudos for having a 'search by typing' feature to auto scroll to
most recent command that matches what is being typed.
This page was last updated 27 April 2000.
- An improvement would be to allow the up and down arrow (or perhaps
the ctrl-up and ctrl-down arrow) to scroll through all previous like typed
commands at the current search level.
For example: if I had 5 commands in
the past 40 that started with BUILD, when I type BUILD and press the up or down
arrow, only the 5 BUILD commands would be cycled through.