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SAS Language Reference: Dictionary

Changes and Enhancements for All Operating Environments For Version 7 and Version 8

Information about changes and enhancements that were implemented in Version 8 is preceded by [IMAGE]. All other changes and enhancements described in this section were implemented in Version 7. In other words, if your site upgraded directly from Version 6 to Version 8, then all of the changes and enhancements described here are new to you. If you upgraded from Version 7 to Version 8, then only the items preceded by [IMAGE] are new to you.

If you use SAS software under OS/2, OpenVMS Alpha, OpenVMS VAX, UNIX, or Windows, then see also Additional Version 7 Changes and Enhancements for OS/2, OpenVMS Alpha, OpenVMS VAX, UNIX, and Windows.

If you use SAS software under OS/390, CMS, or OpenVMS VAX, then see also Additional Version 7 Changes and Enhancements for OS/390, CMS, and OpenVMS VAX.

For information about changes and enhancements to base SAS software that are relevant only to a particular operating environment, see the SAS documentation for that operating environment.

SAS System Enhancements and New Features


New SAS System features, which are described in more detail in the following sections, include

Year 2000 Compliance

For information concerning year 2000 compliance of SAS software products, see the Institute's web site:

Also, the Professional Services Division at SAS Institute offers a course that explains the issues and describes SAS tools and techniques for achieving year 2000 compliance. See "The Year 2000: Achieving Date Compliance" in SAS Applications Course Notes.

With regard to changes in Version 7 of base SAS software, the default value for the YEARCUTOFF= system option is now 1920.

SAS Output: Output Delivery System

In previous versions of SAS, printed output from SAS procedures and from the DATA step was designed for a traditional line-printer. In Version 7, printed output is much more flexible. The new Output Delivery System (ODS) enhances your ability to manage both DATA step and procedure output. ODS features include the ability to

This section briefly illustrates these features. For more information on the Output Delivery System, see The Complete Guide to the SAS Output Delivery System and see the FILE, ODS and PUT, ODS statements in this manual.

SAS Output: DATA Step Reporting

Reports that are created with the FILE and PUT statements in a DATA step have two new features:

SAS I/O: Long Variable Names and Expanded Rules for SAS Names

The rules for SAS names have been expanded to provide more functionality. Some SAS names, such as DATA step variables, members of SAS data libraries, and catalog entries, can be up to 32 bytes long. A variable name can be mixed case.

In a DATA step or a PROC SQL step, you can more easily use DBMS files. You can use a new name literal to express a DBMS column name that may contain characters that are not normally allowed in SAS names. The SAS system option VALIDVARNAME= enables you to specify what rules apply to the variable names that you can create and process in a SAS session.

Referencing a Permanent SAS Data Set Without a Libref

You can create or reference a permanent SAS data set without first assigning a libref. You can refer to a SAS data set directly by specifying in quotes the name by which the operating system refers to the file.

Enhancements to Stored Compiled DATA Step Programs and DATA Step Views

In Version 8, SAS no longer requires that you recompile stored compiled DATA step programs or recreate DATA step views that were created in previous versions or releases of SAS. Stored programs and views created in Version 6 or Version 7 run as is in Version 8, provided that you run them on the same operating system on which they were created.

By default, SAS also saves the source statements when you create stored compiled programs and DATA step views in Version 8. You can retrieve and/or execute the statements by using the new DESCRIBE and EXECUTE statements within the DATA step.

SAS I/O: Logical Concatenation of SAS Libraries

You can now reference two or more SAS libraries with a single libref in all operating environments. To make your code easier to use in multiple operating environments, you can use a libref, rather than only the physical name as in Version 6, to specify the aggregate storage location that contains your SAS files.

SAS I/O: Logical Concatenation of SAS Catalogs

You can now logically concatenate entries in two or more SAS catalogs. Use the LIBNAME statement to implicitly concatenate entries in SAS catalogs. Use the new CATNAME statement to explicitly concatenate entries in SAS catalogs.

SAS I/O: Generation Data Sets

Generation data sets enable you to keep multiple copies of a SAS data set. The copies represent versions of the same data set, which is archived each time it is replaced. To request generation data sets, use the GENMAX= data set option. To reference a specific version of a data set, use the GENNUM= data set option.

SAS I/O: Integrity Constraints

Integrity constraints enable you to specify rules that guarantee the consistency and correctness of stored data. The rules restrict the data that can be added, updated, or deleted from a data set, and they also link the data in one data set to data in another data set.

You can specify integrity constraints either when a data set is created or after it already contains data. To create and delete integrity constraints, you can use the DATASETS procedure, the SQL procedure, or SCL functions. To list integrity constraints, use the CONTENTS procedure.

SAS I/O: Indexing Enhancements

Version 7 provides the following performance improvements for indexed data sets:

SAS I/O: Enhancements for Compressed Files

Compressed data sets are more flexible to use. You can now access observations in a compressed SAS data set directly by using the POINT= or FIRSTOBS= option.

You can choose a compression algorithm that best fits your data. For compressing character data, specify CHAR to use the RLE (Run Length Encoding) algorithm. For compressing binary (for example, numeric) data, specify BINARY to use the RDC (Ross Data Compression) algorithm. If your application can benefit from a specialized algorithm, you can supply your own if you also license SAS/TOOLKIT software.

In Version 8, you can use the POINTOBS= data set option to control whether a compressed data set may be processed with random access rather than with sequential access only.

SAS I/O: Audit Trail

An audit trail enables you to log updates to a SAS data file in a separate audit file. Each time an observation is added, deleted, or updated, information is added to the audit file about who made the modification, what was modified, and when.

You can also define special variables that are stored in the audit file. The user can assign values to them just like regular data set variables. They are stored with each record written to the audit trail. For example, they could be used to log a "reason for modification."

The audit trail is initiated with the AUDIT statement in PROC DATASETS. See SAS Procedures Guide for more information.

Double-Byte Character Sets

Starting with Release 6.07, SAS has supported double-byte character sets (DBCS), which are used for many Asian languages, such as Japanese, Korean, simplified Chinese, and traditional or complex Chinese. The documentation for Version 8 contains the first complete version of the DBCS information in English. See the category tables at the beginning of the Formats, Functions, Informats, and System Options chapters for a complete listing of DBCS language elements.

Windowing Environment: SAS Explorer Window

The SAS workspace is composed of windows that enable you to accomplish specific tasks. Along with the main programming windows (Program Editor, Log, and Output), the workspace now includes SAS Explorer, a central point for managing basic SAS software tasks such as

If you issue the CAT, DIR, LIB, or FILENAME commands, an Explorer window opens. For example, if you type CAT WORK.TEST, you will see the contents of your TEST catalog in a modified Explorer window.

Windowing Environment: SAS Registry Editor

The SAS Registry stores configuration data about the SAS session and about various applications. You can use the SAS Registry Editor window to

You can also use PROC REGISTRY to accomplish these tasks.

Windowing Environment: Results Window

The Results window contains pointers to various locations in the Output window. When procedure code executes, pointers to specific output are generated and are listed in the Results window. You can click the navigation pointers to locate the desired output.

New and Enhanced Base SAS Language Elements

Data Set Options


Functions and CALL Routines



System Options

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Copyright 1999 by SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All rights reserved.