In a Dilbert cartoon, the pointy-haired boss tells Dilbert,
We need to give our customers what they want.
To which Dilbert replies
What our customers want is better products for free.
Upon reflection, Dilbert and the boss agree to give them a fish bowl screensaver
It has been said before that SAS is just offering on-demand for free to compete with R in the educational market. That may be true, but Microsoft and Adobe want to compete in the educational market, too, and they aren’t offering me free stuff so I say, “Hurray for SAS”.
The three biggest problems I would say SAS had in attracting student and faculty use were:
- It was a pain in the ass to install and update
- It was too expensive
- It only ran on Windows and Unix machines
SAS On-demand was the beginning, with a free version of SAS Enterprise Guide and SAS Enterprise Miner. It was pathetically slow over wireless, though, so much so that I took to recording the instructions in my office where I had a wired connection and putting the movie on line for students to watch, or playing it in class. Students would try to do the assignments in class, but again, the wireless connection was a major bottleneck. Also, many of my students had Macs and SAS On-Demand with SAS Enterprise Guide only ran on Windows NATIVE (not virtual machines). It was less of a pain in the ass to install but there were occasional problems.
Enter SAS Web Editor. The drawback is that you need to learn programming, but personally, I have come full circle to considering that an advantage rather than a drawback, and so, I believe will my students.
Not only is the Web Editor free but there is nothing to install. It runs in a browser. Before you get all excited, let me point out that the version I am using is free to FACULTY AND STUDENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION. Registering as a professor took me a few minutes and I was approved that afternoon.
If you are a student, once you register and log in here
You can select the course at your university for which you need a SAS On-Demand license. If your professor selected SAS Web Editor, once you have registered all you need to do is click
Run Client and SAS Web Editor opens in a new window. Not only does it run on a Mac or Windows machine but it also runs on an iPad.
Not one to take anyone’s word for anything, when I was stuck in the theater yesterday, I pulled out my iPad and tried it. The Spoiled One and her friends had gone to an R-rated movie and since she needed a parent to get in, I paid for a ticket, walked in with her and walked out back to the lobby before the movie had a chance to rot my brain. (Suffice it to say that we have different tastes.)
So, here I am with no wi-fi and the original iPad. I figured if it would work on this it would work on anything. First, I started the web editor, just by logging into my account at the link above and then clicking on Run Client. Popped up fine. At first you’ll see your list of projects.
Click on the BROWSE button at top left of the screen to see your list of projects again.
I clicked on the little running guy to run my project. It ran in a few seconds and the results popped up. This was a very small job, as you can see, with only 634 records. I did two frequency procedures, a proportional random sample by strata with proc surveyselect and a proc print – not exactly high intensity programming, but very similar to the type of assignment a student might be doing.
Since I was still sitting there waiting for The Spoiled One’s movie to be over, I used the Web Editor to analyze some dummy data similar to a problem a student was working on, run a one-sample t-test
proc ttest ho = 11 ;
var score ;
in case you were wondering and answer her question.
So, for what the average students would need to do and what the average professor would need to help them, yes SAS Web Editor is a better product, for free.
To my disappointment, no fish bowl screen saver was included.