Breakfast NEWS

March 25, 2014

New Book Combines SAS and SQL

When SAS expert Rick Aster set out to write a book on SAS and SQL, he didn’t want to assume readers had a high level of SAS expertise.

The popular database language SQL usually isn’t the first thing SAS programmers set out to learn about SAS, so most materials on SAS SQL assume you know the basics and direct to other books on SAS for many of the essentials, such as how to form expressions in SAS. Yet often enough, SQL is the first thing people do in SAS, and Aster thought there should be a book that made things easier for them.

The result is Routine SAS SQL, a new book out today in both print and electronic forms.

Routine SAS SQL is based on the 20-page SQL chapter in Aster’s 2000 book Professional SAS Programming Logic, but it is 10 times longer, with more thorough explanations and examples, and adding essential details from around the SAS environment that SQL coders in SAS often must deal with.

Routine SAS SQL is also Aster’s first e-book. The author wrote the book in e-book form from the beginning, and converted it to the print medium only after it was finished. This approach, often identified as “XML first,” is the same approach that many technical book authors and editors are taking for new books these days.

SQL is the language used to operate essential all major relational databases. SAS, the popular programable software for working with data, has supported SQL since the early 1990s. SAS and SQL are both suitable for working with large-scale data, so the combination is a natural one, and came along long before the recent emphasis on “big data.” With SQL, a programmer can use SAS to combine data from multiple relational databases. SAS SQL can also be used on SAS data alone, so that there is no need for a separate database in a project that collects and analyzes data.

Routine SAS SQL is a practical introduction to the use of SQL in SAS that does not assume a background in either SAS or SQL. The book also emphasizes the use of SAS functions and formats in SQL, for converting and displaying data.

SAS is business intelligence software published by SAS Institute Inc. of Cary, NC, and used by an estimated 3 million people worldwide, especially in business, science, and government.

Rick Aster has been writing books on SAS programming since 1988. His other books include Professional SAS Programmer’s Pocket Reference and Professional SAS Programming Secrets.

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