SAS (language)

The SAS control language for the Statistical Analysis System is a fourth-generation proprietary programming language ( L4G ) that has been published by SAS Institute since 1976.

Since 2004, SAS is in version 9, which corresponds to a major evolution in the software because it integrates a new conceptual brick destined to take place in the world of computer software decisional .

It is therefore necessary to dissociate SAS Foundation which represents the L4G alone, and SAS BI which integrates specific applications.


The development of SAS began in 1966 with an NIH grant to eight US universities to analyze agricultural data. The State University of North Carolina was the head of the consortium. In 1972, the NIH disengaged from the project, and SAS Institute , Inc. was founded in 1976 to continue the project. The SAS source code then included 300,000 lines of code on punched cards, PL / I , Fortran and assembler . The system was completely rewritten in C in the mid-1980s, for version 6 of SAS 1 .

SAS Foundation (or SAS V9)

The traditional SAS software consists of a set of modules to meet the following requirements by programming:

  1. Creation and management of databases ;
  2. Analytical processing of databases;
  3. Creation and distribution of summary and listing reports.

Language has only been enriched since its creation, while maintaining backward compatibility . Programs, even old ones, always execute the same way.

The Foundation modules , which must be delivered at the time of rental, are the following:

  • SAS base;
  • SAS Enterprise Guide ( Windows interface for using “wizards” rather than code entry).

As well as a dozen optional modules as required.

The SAS language is based on three parts:

  • The DATA steps. They help meet the requirements for creating and managing data tables;
  • A step creates or modifies a look-up table. In columns are usually an identifier and indicators and in rows, the subjects observed;
  • The procedures each have their objective: to sort a table, to count the lines or to synthesize the indicators, etc.

Some procedures make it possible to write in a specialized language: SQL or IML (matrix language specific to SAS, rather close to MATLAB ).

Macro language is a language used to automate processing.

SAS is available on Microsoft Windows , Linux , Unix ( HP-UX , AIX , Solaris ) and z / OS 2 .

SAS BI (or SAS 9)

The SAS 9 offer enables SAS to provide ETL and web reporting applications . In all cases, the application consists of a graphical interface (workshop).

SAS Data Integration Studio is an offer on the ETL brick of the decision chain. The workshop allows the design of a set of tasks for the creation of an information system.

SAS Web Report Studio lets you design a web-based reporting package.

Free Versions

SAS is available free of charge, for educational use (to be understood in a broad sense: for students and teachers, but also more generally for anyone wishing to learn SAS 3 ). This free version is available in two different ways:

  • SAS University Edition 4 installs on the user’s computer, but in a virtual machine ( VirtualBox or VMware ). SAS is accessed in client / server mode via a web browser. The number of available modules is limited to SAS Base, SAS / STAT, SAS / IML, SAS / ACCESS and part of SAS / ETS.
  • SAS OnDemand for Academics 5 requires no installation. It is located on a remote server, and it is accessed in the same way via a web browser. The number of available modules is significantly more, but the disk space is limited to 5 GB 6 .

Other compilers

World Programming System , also known as WPS, is a software developed by the World Programming Limited enabling users to create, edit and execute programs written in SAS.

Notes and references

  1. ↑ Andrew T. Kuligowski, Beyond the Manual – Terms that SAS Users Throw Around That Have To Do With SAS Code  [ archive ]
  2. ↑ SAS 9.4 – System Requirements  [ archive ]
  3. ↑ SAS University Edition Fact Sheet  [ archive ] : ” SAS University Edition is designed for those who want easy access to statistical software to learn and perform quantitative analysis. This includes teachers, professors, students, academic researchers and independent learners.  “
  4. ↑ SAS University Edition  [ archive ]
  5. ↑ SAS OnDemand for Academics  [ archive ]
  6. ↑ SAS OnDemand for Academics – Commonly Asked Questions  [ archive ]