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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What's missing?

Here's some syntax I ran across today that I hadn't seen before:

data something;
set somethingElse( where= (someVar is not missing) );

Usually I am skeptical of new syntax that duplicates the functionality of existing syntax. It causes language bloat and ends up adding unneeded complexity. But I think this is pretty useful. It looks a lot better than the alternative '' or ' ' or . for missing. And it solves ambiguities between numeric and character missings. I only have one complaint:

where= (someVar is not null)

Language bloat. I hate language bloat. Is the keyword null the same as the keyword missing?

Why do I hate language bloat?

If you are trying to figure out data discrepancies in a large system written by others and you run across both keywords, you will have to spend some time trying to figure out if SAS does indeed handle them the same by either writing test cases or looking through documentation.

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