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Data Representation

Reading and Writing Binary Data in UNIX Environments

Different computers store numeric binary data in different forms. For more information about compatible computer types, see Compatible Computer Types in UNIX Environments. If you try to move binary data in flat files across systems that are incompatible, problems will occur. A safer way to move data is by using SAS data sets.

SAS provides several sets of informats and formats for handling binary data. Some of these informats and formats are host dependent. For example, the IBw.d, PDw.d, PIBw.d, and RBw.d informats and formats read and write data in native mode. That is, they use the byte-ordering system that is standard for the computer. If you create a file using the IBw.d format on a 64-bit HP-UX host and then use the IBw.d informat to read the same file on a 32-bit Linux host, you will get unpredictable results.

For more information about all of the informats and formats, see SAS Language Reference: Dictionary.

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