WHAT ARE SOME ‘COOL CODE PROJECTS TO PURSUE?
One of the observed success factors for Open Source projects is an initial objective that is attractive to developers so that they will come forward and participate. It seems that it will take the brainstorming and discussion of many potential participants to come up with these ideas. Here are a few ideas from the authors to get us started:
Code Documentation/Organization Some have suggested that instead of a central library or repository of Open Source SAS code what is needed is a way to locate all the SAS code that is already available on the Internet. There are a number of systems for facilitating the creation of external documentation from information within program files that have been developed over the last few years. These are: CodeDoc by Jeff Wright and his colleagues at Thotwave, LLC., DocItOut by Choon-Chern Lim, and SaviDoc by Alan Churchill. Each of these can be used to generate XML or HTML program documentation that could be stored on the Internet or an organization’s intranet. A search engine could then be used to find a program with the desired functionality.
Metadata Application Programming This is one of a class of projects that demonstrates innovative programming techniques. Data values are removed from code and stored in tables that are accessed when the data is needed in the program. When this technique is adopted, the need for a supporting set of management tools becomes apparent.
Code Design Standards Some of the co-authors on this paper are also proposing an effort among Pharmaceutical companies to develop SAS programming standards for the industry. Teams of programmers could also develop their own programming standards and use the OS3A project to demonstrate how these standards and good programming methods can work together for SAS programmers. The OS3A project will also give SAS programmers the opportunity to learn good practices in unit and acceptance testing and skill in the use of standard code version control systems.
ODS Templates and Methods ODS will continue to develop into a key resource for SAS users. Sophisticated templates can be developed and shared with the SAS user community. New methods can be demonstrated with practical programming.
SAS/IML Studio Applications The new possibilities for implementing innovative new statistical methods and reporting needs a library of examples. How can SAS analysis be combined with the functionality of other products?
Clinical Reporting A companion paper by the authors proposes an Open Source effort to develop a clinical trials reporting system using SAS programming to save cost and effort in the Pharmaceutical industry.
Open Source development offers a new opportunity for SAS programmers to work together on projects to benefit the entire community of SAS users. Developers can sharpen their skills using programming best practices and the exchange of ideas with their peers. SAS users will choose to do what interests them instead of just what pays their livelihood.
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