[R] things that are difficult/impossible to do in SAS or SPSSbut simple in R

Frank E Harrell Jr f.harrell at vanderbilt.edu
Thu Jan 17 14:35:18 CET 2008

Rob Robinson wrote:
> I wonder if those who complain about SAS as a programming environment have
> discovered SAS/IML which provides a programming environment akin to Matlab
> which is more than capable (at least for those problems which can be treated
> with a matrix like approach). As someone who uses both SAS and R - graphical
> output is so much easier in R, but for handling large 'messy' datasets SAS
> wins hands down...
> Cheers
> Rob

My understanding is that PROC IML is disconnected from the rest of the 
SAS language, e.g., you can't have a loop in which PROC GENMOD is called 
or datasets are merged.  If that's the case, IML is not very competitive 
in my view.

Frank Harrell

> *** Want to know about Britain's birds? Try  www.bto.org/birdfacts ***
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>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: r-help-bounces at r-project.org 
>> [mailto:r-help-bounces at r-project.org] On Behalf Of Jeffrey J. Hallman
>> Sent: 16 January 2008 22:38
>> To: r-help at stat.math.ethz.ch
>> Subject: Re: [R] things that are difficult/impossible to do 
>> in SAS or SPSSbut simple in R
>> SAS has no facilities for date arithmetic and no easy way to 
>> build it yourself.  In fact, that's the biggest problem with 
>> SAS: it stinks as a programming environment, so it's always 
>> much more difficult than it should be to do something new.  
>> As soon as you get away from the canned procs and have to 
>> write something of your own, SAS falls down.
>> I don't know enough about SPSS to comment.
>> --
>> Jeff

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