Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breaking Up the Dictionary

The last time we saw it, SAS Language Reference: Dictionary was 2,225 pages. Two of its chapters accounted for half the length of the book: Chapter 4, “Functions and CALL Routines,” provided 920 pages, and Chapter 7, “SAS System Options,” 254 more. If the SAS documentation team had simply expanded this book for SAS 9.3, it would have been nearly 3,000 pages in length — perhaps a little too much for a single book.

book cover

That explains the need for seven of the new books introduced for SAS 9.3. The two chapters I mentioned have turned into SAS Functions and CALL Routines: Reference (1,027 pages) and SAS System Options: Reference (333 pages). Other volumes cover statements, data set options, and formats and informats. Part II of the Dictionary has been replaced with a separate volume on component objects. Appendix 1, “DATA Step Debugger,” has become the core of a new book, Base SAS Utilities: Reference.

This is the most prominent change in the shape of the documentation, but there are others, as specific features are moved from formal to topical locations. For example, the OPTIONS, OPTLOAD, and OPTSAVE procedures, which have to do with system options, are now covered in SAS System Options: Reference. (The same chapters are repeated in Base SAS Procedures Guide, but just, I imagine, one last time, to give readers a chance to get used to looking for procedures in their new locations. Base SAS Procedures Guide weighs in at 1,794 pages, while some 3,500 pages of documentation for other base SAS procedures are found in other books.)

No comments:

Post a Comment