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Date:   Thu, 14 Sep 2000 10:02:57 -0500
Reply-To:   Jaclyn Whitehorn <jaclyn@BAMA.UA.EDU>
Sender:   "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:   Jaclyn Whitehorn <jaclyn@BAMA.UA.EDU>
Subject:   Re: SAS macro skills: master or not master ?
Content-Type:   text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"


All of the following is my own humble opinion; your mileage may vary. :-)

I think that instead of saying "master or not master", there is a third choice: working knowledge. True macro mastery takes a long long time and can't be learned out of a book. But anyone who works with SAS needs at least a working knowledge of the macro language to read other programs, know what they do, and know when macro programming and/or macro variables are appropriate for your task. Of course "working with SAS" is different from being a SAS programmer; a SAS programmer would need more than that.

So, as far as whether you need to "master" it: do you program all the time, some of the time, or do you manage programmers? All of those tasks need a working knowledge of macros, but the more actual programming you do the more you need to know.

And for learning macros, I think you're starting in the right place. I would learn all that I could about macro variables first, then go into macro loop commands next. As part of learning macro variables, learn how the processor actually works. Basically, read the SAS Macro Language Reference, and don't skip Part 1. From my little bit of experience, that will get you going in the right direction; you don't want to jump right into programming macros and miss important information.

Good luck! Jaclyn

------------------------------------------------------------ Jaclyn Whitehorn * User Service Consultant Seebeck Computer Center * The University of Alabama

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