Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Win a Free Copy of SAS Server Pages: A Framework for Generating Dynamic Content

Lots going on right now surrounding my eBook, SAS Server Pages:  A Framework for Generating Dynamic Content.
  1. Created a great cool demo using tag clouds that I plan to discuss in several follow-on blog entries.
  2. PROC STREAM, a key part of server pages, is now in production with SAS 9.4.
  3. Check the Apple iBookstore soon for an updated version of my eBook. 

The Demo – Tag Clouds as a Graphical Display of Data

You’ve all probably seen Tag Clouds. In fact, my blog uses tag clouds to display the labels (or keywords) that I have tagged individual blog entries with. The more blog entries a label is used in, the bigger it is. The tag cloud for this blog clearly has SAS Server Pages as the most frequent and thus is larger than the other tags. So that got me thinking that maybe Tag Clouds could be used for BI data – they are much more interesting (at least IMO) than bar charts or pie charts. So here is a link to a SAS Server Page that generates Tag Clouds using the SASHELP.SHOES data set that you can explore:

http://demos.hcsbi.com:8080/SASStoredProcess/guest?_program=/sspebook/sasServerPage&page=ajaxContainer

Here is a screenshot of a sample:


The demo integrates a few different technologies to produce this output:
  1. SAS Server Pages and PROC STREAM are used to generate the web/html output as well as to provide the User Interface where the user can specify what variables in the SAS data set are used to generate the Tag Cloud.
  2. The SAS BI/EBI Stored Process Server is used to deliver the results, including the drill-down functionality (e.g., clicking on the word Vancouver generated the tabular results).
  3. The JQuery framework provides several key technology pieces that both simplified the development of the demo as well as to deliver the content.
    1. The JQCloud JQuery widget produces the Tag Cloud based on data passed to it from the SAS Server Page.
    2. The JQuery AJAX tools are used to manage the layout of the display, including displaying the results in a single integrated page.
The use of the JQuery framework is particularly important as that allows any SAS developer, via SAS Server Pages, to leverage all of the user-interface, reporting, and graphical tools that developers all around the world have contributed to JQuery.

Over the next several weeks I will be describing and documenting all the pieces and parts of this demo; a demo that is built on top of a re-usable framework that uses the technology described in my eBook SAS Server Pages:  A Framework for Generating Dynamic Content.

Winning a Copy of the Book

Winning a copy of this eBook, specifically an Apple iBookstore copy, is simple. The first two readers who make a blog comment that is either:

  • An interesting set of publically available data that lends itself to a display like that shown in the demo.  And yes, this could result in my creating a demo using that data.
  • How you might use tag clouds for BI data.
  • A suggested enhancement for the demo.
For a chance to win, you must be a US resident and you must be a follower of this blog. This way, if you are a winner, the SAS Press folks (who are providing the free copies) and I can easily contact you and send you a code to download your free copy. To become a follower, just click on the Join this site button under the Followers widget.  See the Help Info on this for more information.

And, of course, if you don’t win a copy, you can always buy one!