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Date:         Wed, 10 Dec 2008 15:13:49 -0500
Reply-To:     Statmanz <statmanz@earthlink.net>
Sender:       "SPSSX(r) Discussion" <SPSSX-L@LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
From:         Statmanz <statmanz@earthlink.net>
Subject:      Re: Syntax color code issues
In-Reply-To:  <6CD9B6A6B6CCBA4FA497F07182F4EE8314E5A5@MIAEMAILEVS1.spss.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

I have had the opportunity to beta test SPSS for a number of years, to include V17, as well as be a part of the CAB and find Kyle and the development staff to be very accepting of any and all comments, both positive and negative. While they may or may not consider my input as to design issues they generally offer informative feedback so as to understand their reaction.

I did not find Kyle's words to be anything other than an opinion, and in no way meant to be critical, etc. Further, the offering to be on the CAB is sincere and I strongly encourage its participation.

WMB Statistical Services

============ mailto: info.statman@earthlink.net http:\\home.earthlink.net\~info.statman ============

-----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.

-- View this message in context: http://www.nabble.com/Syntax-color-code-issues-tp20918896p20939530.html Sent from the SPSSX Discussion mailing list archive at Nabble.com.

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