a first look at SAS OnDemand

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:

code_editor

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:

log

The results tab shows the output of recently run code:

results_cropped

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.

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One Response to a first look at SAS OnDemand

  1. Ron Statt says:

    Hi Dan, thank you for your kind words. I help manage the SAS OnDemand for Academics program and am always happy to hear positive reviews. SAS Web Editor has a 100 MB file upload limit (this is a Web application limit).

    Professors also have the ability to FTP data for use in their courses. We provide professors with 2 GB of data storage space. The FTP process is especially helpful for large data files that might be needed by everyone in the course.

    Once a professor has used FTP to upload the data for their course, anyone in the course can access it via a LIBNAME or FILENAME statement. For documentation about the FTP option and other program information, please check out:
    http://support.sas.com/ondemand/

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