Re: [S] Splus 3.3 vs 4.0 4.2 4.5 ...

Frank E Harrell Jr (
Fri, 22 May 1998 21:22:22 -0400

Amen to Todd's statement:

> 2) I generally don't look for programmers willing to learn S.
> I look for researchers willing to program. And I don't
> accept the usual "but not everyone wants/needs/is able to
> program." I have never met a spreadsheet user who didn't
> eventually end up writing a macro. Lured by the seductive
> easiness of the GUI interface, they eventually are trapped
> into programming anyway, using the horrid kludges that
> pass as macro "languages." Learning and programming S is
> much, MUCH easier.

As someone who used SAS for 22 years before discovering S-PLUS
I had to use the macro "language" in SAS extensively. Macro languages
are in many ways "dead" as they are not close to the actual data
(try this in SAS: if x is discrete PROC FREQ else PROC UNIVARIATE).
What is surprising to me is that there are many people who actually
believe that macro languages are powerful languages!
Related to this, in my experience people who have never used SAS
learn S-PLUS faster than those who have.

I also second the "researchers willing to program" idea.

-Frank Harrell

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