Sunday, December 30, 2012

Flexibility and Productivity

Vilno Table gives a simultaneous combination of high flexibility and high worker productivity that no SAS MACRO library can come close to achieving.
Senior pharmaceutical SAS developers who have a vested interest in preventing change retort: "A SAS MACRO can solve that problem. Non-SAS product designs are unwelcome in the pharmaceutical industry".

A SAS MACRO library might (even here there is difficulty) work for a small subset of tables that satisfy a very strict set of assumptions. But for the wide variety of statistical tables that statisticians and physicians ask for every day, a SAS MACRO library simply does not work.

The problem is the flexibility of the SAS programming language goes only so deep: whenever you try to solve the productivity problem with a SAS MACRO library, flexibility collapses. Any candidate for a standard SAS MACRO library is rigid and difficult to use - it lacks flexibility.

The Vilno Table programming language has high worker productivity: the worker can do a complex statistical table in 20 lines of code (instead of spending 3 hours writing hundreds of lines of code, as with SAS). But Vilno Table combines high worker productivity with high flexibility: summary statistics and advanced statistics on the same page, advanced statistics from different models in the same table, different parts of the table are allowed to use different data sources and different computations, and so on.

Take the framework of tree data structures, blend it in a very careful manner with the types of concepts in a statistician's head just before she says "I want you to code for me a table that's BLA-BLA-BLA", and what you get is a product design that completely blows the SAS programming language out of the water. In terms of worker productivity, it's not even a close call, even if many senior SAS programmers do not want to admit it.

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