When selecting a technical book for myself I tend to choose one where there are lots of examples and sample code snippets that I can use and adapt for my own development projects. I wanted to write a book that I could use for reference myself, so I have tried to make sure there are code snippets wherever possible.
Instead of licensing additional SAS components at your site, I believe you will continue to use SAS software for longer if you have a deeper knowledge of your existing components. Most of the recently introduced SAS components have functionality that can be provided using your existing components. Introducing new components may save maintenance costs, but at the expense of valuable programming expertise.
As a former performance analyst, I still look at any programs I write to see if I can make them smaller, quicker, and/or easier to maintain. Resources may appear to be limitless, but there will inevitably come a day when a program needs more, e.g., WORK disk space, memory, processing power, faster disk access, etc. Looking at your existing programs will move that day further into the future, saving money on resources and maintenance. I have spent the majority of my time as an independent consultant assisting my clients to make better use of their existing components by demonstrating new features, improving their coding efficiency, and helping them to develop applications that are easier to maintain. I want this book to continue this work.
Some of the chapters look at the way information stored in SAS data sets can be viewed using applications other than SAS, e.g., with the SAS ODBC driver, with SAS Integration Technologies, and with graphical report files from SAS/GRAPH programs. Other chapters concentrate on techniques to optimize specific tasks, e.g., merging data from SAS data sets and external database tables, and the use of disk space.
The remaining chapters demonstrate how to accomplish a particular task without having to license a new SAS component, e.g., reading data from and writing data to databases and spreadsheets without the need to license SAS/ACCESS software, and developing SAS programs on a PC without having Base SAS software installed there.
During the research I carried out while writing this book I greatly increased my knowledge of SAS. I hope that by reading this book and experimenting with the examples, you can increase your understanding of SAS software too, and that the book will help you to get full value out of the SAS components you are licensing. The following sections provide brief overviews of the chapters in this book.