SAS Press» Authorline
Table of Contents |
Previous | Next
Robert Rutledge Shares Scoop on Upcoming Book
interviews author Robert Rutledge about his new book Just Enough SAS: A Quick-Start Guide to SAS for Engineers
a few weeks before it
becomes available. Be sure to check out this free excerpt
from the book.
Authorline: Tell us a little about your new book.
- Robert Rutledge: SAS is not difficult to learn, but it is a lot to learn. There are so many different modules, procedures, options etc. that it's difficult to know where to start, and
it's easy to invest a lot of time in learning before you reach the point of being able to use SAS effectively to do really useful work. The purpose of this book is to provide "just enough" instruction
on a broad variety of topics so that a new user can become productive very quickly. Because the coverage is very broad, it is necessarily not as deep as the coverage in other sources, so we include lots
of references to books and papers that the reader can use to better understand the topics introduced here.
Is a certain level of SAS experience recommended?
- Robert: The book is intended to be useable by someone who is new to SAS, but it is not for "Dummies." The assumption is that the reader has an aptitude for programming, and perhaps
some experience with other programming languages. Current SAS users will find this a useful reference because of the many practical examples showing how to use various procedures and options to
create just the right tables and plots for their analysis.
How will your book benefit users? Or who will benefit from your book?
- Robert: The easiest way to learn SAS, or any other programming language, is to start from examples that are somewhat close to what you need to do, and then modify the code for your own use.
The book is filled with examples showing SAS code, and the corresponding output, for every topic covered, so it should be useful as a "cookbook" to provide code samples that the user can easily adapt
to the problem at hand. All of the code can be downloaded from the companion Web site, so there is no need to type it all in - just copy, paste and adapt.
The book includes all of the coding methods that I have used to create automated data reporting systems for manufacturing yield and field reliability, from data extraction through publication of the
final results to the Web. So it contains all the tools that a reader would need to complete each step of a significant data analysis project.
Much of the content of the book would be useful for a general audience, but most of the examples, and all of Chapter 9, "Analyzing Quality Data" and Chapter 10, "Analyzing Reliability Data," are aimed
specifically at the kinds of analysis commonly performed in support of high-tech development and manufacturing.
How did you decide to publish with SAS?
- Robert: Once I decided that I wanted to write the book, publishing with SAS was an easy choice. One of the great benefits of publishing with SAS is that the work is reviewed by
some of the same SAS programmers who developed the code that you are writing about. So they are subject matter experts who want to be sure the facts are right and that the material is
presented in a way that is most useful to the reader. After all, the book will be a sales pitch for their work! The technical reviews were filled with very helpful suggestions, most of
which I was able to incorporate into the book, resulting in a book which is, in my opinion, much better than the original draft.
Any highlights of your publishing experience?
- Robert: If I knew how much work it was going to be, I never would have started! But now that it's done, I'm really glad that I did. It has been a great learning experience for me.
When I tried to write down what I knew on a particular topic, I often went to the SAS Online Documentation just to make sure I had it right, and ended up finding out that my understanding was
incomplete, or even incorrect. In the process, I not only learned a lot more about SAS, but I also came to really appreciate the quality of the SAS documentation. Frankly, I had avoided looking
at it in the past because I found it too detailed and daunting to get through, especially when I needed an answer in a hurry. What I discovered is that when you really need to get it right, the
answers are all there, very complete and accurate, and not as difficult to find as I had feared.
When you aren't working, how do you enjoy spending your free time?
- Robert: Free time? I hope to get some when the book is finished, and will then go back to trying to learn enough Dreamweaver to finish the personal Web site that I started some time ago.
Table of Contents |
Previous | Next