Monday 17 June 2013

NOTE: Describe Your Table in SAS to Write the SQL Code

A week or so back I highlighted two best paper winners from this year's SAS Global Forum - Steve Overton and John Heaton - and I then subsequently highlighted one of John's papers. I thought I should do the same for Steve, but then I saw a blog post from Steve of such wonderful simplicity that I thought I'd highlight the blog post instead. For those familiar with the SQL DESCRIBE statement you'll know that it not only "describes" a table but it does so by offering code to recreate the table.

In Describe Your Table in SAS to Write the SQL Code, Steve describes how to use SQL DESCRIBE to generate executable code to (re)create a table. As Steve says, this is a useful reverse-engineering technique for generating empty tables as a step in establishing your data warehouse or data mart. It's one of those things that seems to have no purpose until you need to do it!

I've seen experienced SAS coders writing reams of DATA step code to reverse-engineer a data set. SQL DESCRIBE does it for you nice and easy!