Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Gentle Introduction to SAS Server Pages

My last post PROC STREAM: Extending the Macro Language to create more than just SAS code introduced the 9.3 experimental procedure, PROC STREAM, which provides direct support for SAS Server Pages. It also provided a very preliminary preview of a SAS Press eBook on PROC STREAM and SAS Server Pages. A free preview copy of selected chapters is targeted for the SAS Global Forum 2012 timeframe - look for a blog posting soon with more details on the topics covered in the eBook and the preview version.

Between now and SAS Global Forum I plan to write a number of blog entries on this topic - starting with an overview and a brief overview of what SAS Server Pages are. I will also be providing online demos so that even if you don't have access to SAS 9.3, you can see the generated output. I will be providing links the run the examples using both the SAS/IntrNet Application Dispatcher as well as the Stored Process Server. And note that the exact same programs are used by both the SAS/IntrNet Application Dispatcher and the Stored Process Server: one program for the DATA Step example; and one for the PROC STREAM example.

As discussed on sasCommunity.orgSAS Server Pages can be generated using the RESOLVE function in a DATA Step. So let's look at how to do that.

Here is a variation of the simple example in my last blog post:

data _null_;
file _webout;
infile datalines;
input;
_infile_ = resolve(_infile_);
put _infile_;
datalines4;
<html>
<head><title>The Obligatory Hello World Example</title></head>
<body>
<h1>Hello &_rmtuser..</h1>
<h2> This welcome note generated
at %sysfunc(time(),timeampm8.)<sup>1</sup>
on %sysfunc(date(),worddate.).</h2>
This HTML file was produced from an input
SAS Server Page and customized courtesy
of a DATA Step and the RESOLVE function
using SAS Release &sysver on &sysscp..
<p><sup>1</sup>The time listed is the server
time - the US Rocky Mountain time zone.
</body>
</html>
;;;;

The RESOLVE function is used to resolve macro variable references and execute macros (none included in this example) as well as macro functions (e.g., the %sysfunc macro fucntion). Try this out on my server:
Now lets look at the PROC STREAM version:

proc stream outfile=_webout quoting=both;
BEGIN
<html>
<head><title>The Obigatory Hello World Example</title></head>
<body>
<h1>Hello &_rmtuser..</h1>
<h2> This welcome note generated
at %sysfunc(time(),timeampm8.)<sup>1</sup>
on %sysfunc(date(),worddate.).</h2>
This HTML file was produced from an input
SAS Server Page and customized courtesy
of PROC STREAM
using SAS Release &sysver on &sysscp..
<p><sup>1</sup>The time listed is the server
time - the US Rocky Mountain time zone.
</body>
</html>
;;;;

You can run these out on my server as well:
The DATA Step and PROC STREAM both processed the same input SAS Server Page - and both produced the same results. PROC STREAM includes a number of features and capabilities that can't be done with the DATA Step approach. I'll be highlighting a number of those features in blog posts between now and SAS Global Forum.