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Date:         Sat, 13 Dec 2008 07:33:20 -0500
Reply-To:     Art@DrKendall.org
Sender:       "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Art Kendall <Art@DrKendall.org>
Organization: Social Research Consultants
Subject:      Re: Syntax color code issues
Comments: To: "Marks, Jim" <Jim.Marks@lodgenet.com>
In-Reply-To:  <E3E20F80689881429D0021DCA515EF530201B695@host.lodgenet.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

I concur. It would make a nice enhancement.

Since I am a strong believer in readability, I spell out the commands and options. However, it would be a good idea if the editor recognized "concise command language" as it is called on the VAX computers for decades, also has a setting to automatically fill in the rest (or not) as the user chose.

Art Kendall Social Research Consultants

Marks, Jim wrote: > Please see page 21 of the command syntax manual v15. > > "Many command names and keywords can be abbreviated to the first three > or more characters that can be resolved without ambiguity. For example, > COMPUTE can be abbreviated to COMP but not COM because the latter does > not adequately distinguish it from COMMENT". > > Agree that it goes back to SPSS on mainframes, but it's hard to see the > abbreviations as "an undocumented, unsupported, idiosyncratic aspect of > SPSS syntax that hearkened back to some well-outdated release." > > The core of the program-- the engine that runs the code-- reads > abbreviations. The in-line help function reads abbreviations. Some > features of the newly added syntax engine do not read abbreviations. > > Seems like a reasonable enhancement for v18 (or v17.01). > > --jim > > -----Original Message----- > From: SPSSX(r) Discussion [mailto:SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of > Daniel Robertson > Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 1:59 PM > To: SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU > Subject: Re: Syntax color code issues > > Hmm. The original poster's complaint was that the syntax editor color > coding in V17 did not accommodate an undocumented, unsupported, > idiosyncratic aspect of SPSS syntax that hearkened back to some > well-outdated release. I too avail myself of such shortcuts -- and it > might be nice in a future release to allow the user to customize the > coloring behavior -- but I fail to see why SPSS should be expected to > support such uses of its product. The color coding and auto-complete > features may, of course, be turned off, which I find useful when looking > at old or idiosyncratic syntax. > > Further, I think it's inaccurate to characterize Kyle's frequently > posted invitation to provide feedback to SPSS (of which I have availed > myself) as arrogant or dismissive. SPSS is an imperfect tool, but a > useful one -- and it's not the only tool that I use -- but there are > procedures in place for addressing problems and concerns. I hope we can > avoid turning this list into a complaint line. > > Respectfully, > > Dan R > > Whanger, J. Mr. CTR wrote: > >> Kyle, >> >> I have to say, the tone and perspective you've taken is, >> > unfortunately, > >> typical of the way in which SPSS has responded for the last few years >> > to > >> reasonable, appropriate, and legitimate criticisms of new versions of >> software. In addition to the example below, criticisms of changes in >> functionality have been met with denials that functionality has >> > changed > >> and defended with illogical arguments premised upon the ridiculous >> notion that because the information or process is available elsewhere >> within the program, there was no change in functionality. What is one >> to conclude from this behavior? Either, there is a substantial lack >> > of > >> understanding about "functionality" and/or there is a lack of concern >> for how changes impact existing customers. Although I have used SPSS >> > for > >> a long time, this consistently arrogant, condescensing, and dismissive >> attitude has resulted in my considering using different software. >> >> Regards, >> >> Jim >> >> >> -----Original Message----- >> From: SPSSX(r) Discussion [mailto:SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf >> > Of > >> Weeks, Kyle >> Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:21 PM >> To: SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU >> Subject: Re: Syntax color code issues >> >> Harold, would you like to beta test future versions of SPSS >> > Statistics? > >> Also, would you like to serve on the Customer Advisory Board? This >> would consist of answering ad-hoc questions on a variety of issues as >> your time permits. >> >> I would like to also extend these invitations to others on the list as >> well. If you are interest please let me know. >> >> Regards. >> >> Kyle >> >> >> -----Original Message----- >> From: SPSSX(r) Discussion [mailto:SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf >> > Of > >> HBaize >> Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 11:06 AM >> To: SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU >> Subject: Re: Syntax color code issues >> >> Unfortunately myself and other long time syntax users were not part of >> "great deal of customer input" perhaps because users like myself have >> felt abandoned for decades and are not actively communicating with >> > SPSS > >> inc. >> >> My last comment in the previous post addresses the mistaken idea that >> all users are novices who formerly relied on the GUI. A syntax color >> coding and autofill use the same ugly all caps verbose syntax as the >> paste function of the GUI. I don't want that. If I did I'd type it in >> myself in that ugly format. The autofill and paste function are fine >> > for > >> learning the syntax, but if you really know it you just type and you >> don't waste time typing default options or holding down the caps lock >> key. >> >> In my case I have hundreds of syntax files going back about 20 years. >> > If > >> I read them into the new color coding editor only about one third of >> > the > >> keywords will be highlighted because they're abbreviated. Why couldn't >> the editor use the same logic as the syntax parser? I'm not going to >> revert to a simple learning mode of a novice just to have color. >> Here's an example. If I want to do a simple bivariate correlation I >> type: >> >> cor var=varone vartwo. >> >> The GUI would paste: >> >> CORRELATIONS >> /VARIABLES=varone vartwo >> /PRINT=TWOTAIL NOSIG >> /MISSING=PAIRWISE. >> >> I much prefer the way I type it. If you really know the syntax the >> > first > >> one is both easier to type and easier to read. The only advantage of >> > the > >> verbose format of the GUI paste function is in helping novices learn >> > the > >> syntax. The all caps is just a holdover from the mainframe days. It is >> ugly and anyone active in on-line communities considers all caps to be >> shouting. It is unnecessary. The parser is not case sensitive. On what >> basis is it "best practice" to use all caps and verbose syntax? Where >> > is > >> the evidence? >> >> >> >>>> The abbreviation rules are not uniform across procedures and are >>>> really >>>> >>>> >> not best practice.<< >> >> The syntax itself is not uniform across procedures. I would argue the >> three character keyword abbreviation is one of the most consistent >> features across procedures. >> >> All that would be necessary to make users like myself happy would be >> > to > >> program the color coding using the same rules as the syntax parser. If >> you think about it that is the right way to do it. It is inconsistent >> > to > >> use different rules for the editor than for the syntax parser. It >> > would > >> not take anything away from the training of new users though autofill >> > or > >> the paste function, but it would make the color coding fit the real >> syntax of the parser and would work with old user typed syntax files >> just as well as those ugly GUI pasted files. >> >> Harold R. Baize, PhD >> Evaluations >> Butte County Behavioral Health >> >> >> I am not sure I understand the last comment. The new syntax editor >> > was > >> a direct response to customer demand and was implemented with a great >> deal of customer input. >> >> The behavior mentioned below that originally started this thread, in >> which abbreviated syntax is not color coded, is actually by design. >> > The > >> abbreviation rules are not uniform across procedures and are really >> > not > >> best practice. The syntax that worked previous will continue to work, >> it just will not get color coded as well formed syntax. >> >> Regards. >> >> Kyle Weeks, Ph.D. >> Director of Product Strategy, SPSS Statistics SPSS Inc. >> kweeks@spss.com >> www.spss.com >> SPSS Inc. helps organizations turn data into insight through >> > predictive > >> analytics. >> >> >> -----Original Message----- >> From: SPSSX(r) Discussion [mailto:SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf >> > Of > >> HBaize >> Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 9:44 AM >> To: SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU >> Subject: Re: Syntax color code issues >> >> I'm glad it works for you. The GUI is fine for a lot of people too, >> > but > >> logically it should work the same as the syntax parser. I think SPSS >> should provide better support for syntax users because if we all jump >> ship to R it will eventually sink SPSS inc. >> >> >> >> -- >> >> >> >> > > -- > Daniel Robertson > Senior Research and Planning Associate > Institutional Research and Planning > Cornell University / irp.cornell.edu > > ===================== > To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to > LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the > command. To leave the list, send the command > SIGNOFF SPSSX-L > For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command > INFO REFCARD > > ===================== > To manage your subscription to SPSSX-L, send a message to > LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU (not to SPSSX-L), with no body text except the > command. To leave the list, send the command > SIGNOFF SPSSX-L > For a list of commands to manage subscriptions, send the command > INFO REFCARD > > >

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