I recently started using SAS OnDemand, the SAS Institute’s web-based interface to their SAS computing platform, as part of a course I am taking in statistical computing. The program is one of the smoothest web applications I have ever used; shifting from the stand-alone SAS application to SAS OnDemand proved very intuitive.
The code editor tab provides real-time syntax highlighting, as well as buttons for submitting highlighted regions of code:
To the left of the screen, the application provides a file system model where users can create folders, upload and download data files, view their libraries, and organize programs by project.
The log tab shows the system-reported results of running a block of code:
The results tab shows the output of recently run code:
This last part can run slowly in the web application, especially if a lot of observations are reported. However, redirecting the output to the file system via ODS (e.g., as a PDF file) runs very quickly.
The only downside with SAS OnDemand I encountered was when I tried to upload a 170 megabyte data file to the application’s file system. The program just froze (multiple times), rather than report an error message or warning about maximum file sizes. It is unclear whether SAS OnDemand or its academic version imposes file size restrictions.
The program is perfect for educational use, since it does not require successful installation of software on the PCs of all members of a class (a major headache to professors). It simply requires an internet connection and a modern web browser to use. Additionally, professors can create shared data files visible to all class members with which to base homework assignments on.
Overall I’m really impressed with SAS OnDemand.