SAS Programming Language

SAS (Statistical Analysis System) has been one of the most used programming languages in Statistical Analysis. There are many major applications of this programming language. It covers trivial data entry functions to data warehousing. Apart from basic data analysis functions, it also provides solution to all the major IT companies. This programming language is applicable in most of the fields like human resource management, financial management, business intelligence, IT management etc. The programs are dependent on the data available in tables. The functions of the programs are carried out in the form of statements and procedures. All the programs designed in SAS languages there are three major steps. They are

  1. DATA step (in this step all the major data functions are carried out. Like reading, writing and opening and closing of files).
  2. Procedure step( all the necessary customizations and data manipulations are done in this step).
  3. Macro language( the repetitive and rationalizing the program is carried out in this step).

Early SAS Language

SAS was rather a thesis when it was first started by Anthony J. Barr. He was a graduate student from North Carolina State University. He worked for 2 years (from 1966 – 1968) and developed SAS. He worked on various statistical programs and merged all of them to create a program. By using analysis of variance which was adopted from the notations of statistician Maurice Kendall, Barr developed an analysis modeling language. With this he created SAS by introducing statistical procedures into a file framework.

In 1968, Barr has taken assistance of James Goodnight and developed more multiple regression programs and analysis variance routines. These frameworks were initially developed by Goodnight which was later involved into Barr’s language. The analytical power of the language later improved this new introduction. After this many variations were involved in the language which only improved the accuracy and performance of the language.

In 1976, SAS Institute was started by Barr and Goodnight. Dr. James Goodnight still is the CEO of the institute.

Features and Terminology of SAS

SAS is a must have for any business enterprise so as to maintain their data effectively and more confidentially. There are many features which are user friendly and efficient in their functioning. There are very minor changes syntax representations which may create some confusion for the programmer, but this is just a small hurdle which the programmer faces initially. For example, in SAS data sets, observations and variables are used in place of tables, rows and fields. The above example is the difference in terminology in other programming languages and SAS programming language. Here is a list of other features which gives a clear picture of what the language consists of

  • It supports versatile file formats.
  • The data which is available can be processed in any format.
  • It is a 4th generation programming language which is non-procedural.
  • SAS AF/SCL is a 5th generation programming language which has a syntax which is very similar to JAVA.
  • There are many functions like statistical and number functions which are built in.
  • It is in built data and time managing functions.
  • It can handle very large data sets. The tables may have millions of rows and thousands of columns.
  • SAS Macro language gives dynamic data driven code generation.
  • Development of a program is fast because of the many built in functions which are available in the language.
  • User community supports the SAS Institute in major percentage. These users also have the right to design the future versions of the SAS programming language.

There are 9 versions of SAS programming language. Each version has a series of different featured SAS programming language.

Applications of SAS

As mentioned before, SAS programming language is mostly applied in programs used by business enterprises. The various applications of SAS programs are – data entry, retrieval management, mining, report writing and graphics, it is widely used in operational research and project management, for the quality improvement, application development and most importantly data warehousing (data extraction, transformation of data and uploading data).

Apart from these basic functions, SAS also helps in large scale business solutions. It provides assistance in versatile fields like human resource management, financial management, customer relationship management and IT management. These are some of the fields where SAS has been able to apply itself and bring out efficient and accurate results.