[R] SAS or R software
Frank E Harrell Jr
f.harrell at vanderbilt.edu
Sat Nov 20 23:05:30 CET 2004
BXC (Bendix Carstensen) wrote:
> Two major advantages of SAS that seems to have been overlooked in
> the previous replies are:
> 1) The data-set language is SAS for data manipulation is more
> human-readable than R-code in general.
> R is not a definite write-only laguage as APL, but in particular
> in datamanipulation it is easy to write code that is impossible
> to decipher after few weeks.
> You can also produce unreadable code in SAS, but it generally takes
> more of an effort.
> Thus: Data manupulation is easier to document in SAS than in R.
I agree with the readability of data manipulation code, especially for
novice users. As far as functionality for data manipulation is
concerned, R has more flexibility and is faster to program once one has
experience. I do think that learning data manipulation techniques in R
takes a while.
> 2) proc tabulate.
> This procedure enables you to do extensive sensible tabulation
> of your data if you are prepared to read the manual.
> (This is not a product of the complexity of the software,
> but of the complexity of the tabulation features).
> Compared to this only rudimentay tools exist in R (afaik).
I could not disagree more with that statement. Look for example at
With R you can customize tables by specifying your own function for
computing any statistic of interest. Let's see how to use PROC TABULATE
to display stratified Kaplan-Meier 4-year survival estimates along with
median and median life length, not to mention match the fine control of
formatting available using the combination of R and LaTeX.
> So if you want to do well documented data manipulation and clear
> and compact tables go for SAS.
Readability is different from being well-documented. And for clear and
compact tables, R is the winner hands down.
> If you want to do statistical analyses and graphics (in finite time)
> go for R.
> Bendix Carstensen
> Bendix Carstensen
> Senior Statistician
Frank E Harrell Jr Professor and Chair School of Medicine
Department of Biostatistics Vanderbilt University
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