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SAS Module


SAS is driven by SAS programs, which define a sequence of operations to be performed on data stored as tables. Although non-programmer graphical user interfaces to SAS exist (such as the SAS Enterprise Guide), these GUIs are most often merely a front-end that automates or facilitates the generation of SAS programs. The functionalities of SAS components are intended to be accessed via application programming interfaces, in the form of statements and procedures.

The DATA-step section of a SAS program,[1] like other database-oriented fourth-generation programming languages such as SQL or Focus, assumes a default file structure, and by default automates the process of identifying files to the operating system, opening the input file, reading the next record, opening the output file, writing the next record, and closing the files. This allows the user/programmer to concentrate on the details of working with the data within each record, in effect working almost entirely within an implicit program loop that runs for each record. Any aspect of these automated functionalities may also be modified within the DATA step.