The DS2 Procedure: SAS® Programming Methods at Work Reviews

I had the good fortune to be asked to review Peter Eberhardt's The DS2 Procedure: SAS® Programming Methods at Work and I of course accepted. I knew nothing about DS2 and know an opportunity when I see one. As a result, I learned a lot in a short time because Peter did such a great job organizing and presenting a complex subject.

Peter Eberhardt has done dozens of SAS presentations for the International, Regional, and Local SAS User Groups over many years and has a real talent for explaining complicated concepts and techniques. This book showcases the style he developed over the years. He logically organizes the material between and within the chapters and has written clear and concise paragraphs and code examples that supplement and reinforce the text. All the code is clearly documented and can serve to jumpstart your own efforts. Towards the end is a chapter that walks through a DS2 solution for a real-world problem.

I see The DS2 Procedure as a combination of tutorial and reference manual. The most important features and capabilities DS2 are focused on and differences from DATA step are made clear. The book logically progresses from 'easy' concepts and code to more difficult ones. In the first chapter Peter compares a DATA step to its DS2 equivalent and, even though they are hugely different, quickly give the reader a foundation to build on and builds their confidence. Then in subsequent chapters he gradually introduces the capabilities and functionality that make DS2 more powerful and robust than a DATA step. By often comparing back to the DATA step, it's done in a way that doesn't overwhelm and lose the reader. Code examples are a key to understanding DS2 and they're on almost every page.

This book should be in the library of every SAS DS2 programmer. I do caution, however, that it probably isn't appropriate for SAS beginners. You will get the most from it if you already have broad experience with DATA step programming and a high comfort level with object-oriented programming concepts and techniques.

John Bentley
Analytic Consultant
Enterprise Marketing
Wells Fargo Bank

When I was asked to provide a promotional review of Peter’s book The DS2 Procedure: SAS Programming Methods at Work I was flattered. I myself started my career as a SAS programmer but then moved to the SAS architecture, installation, and administration side. Before I began to review this book, I asked myself, how would I judge the merits of this book? A straight answer was since I have moved away from programming a decade ago a litmus test would be if this book could equip me quickly with the knowledge and working skills to use DS2? This is the single criteria I used in reviewing Peter’s work.

This book flows. It builds in logical structure and introduces concepts with working examples. The concept starts from ground zero and builds upon it. When I am chasing information I personally like to get the information I need without having to run around searching for it. Peter’s book construct does just that. It introduces a concept simply and clearly, touches on the importance of the point under review and jumps to a practical example right away. I love that. This book moves at a nice pace, concepts are explained in a succinct and clear manner then jumps into practical application with explanation of the said topic. The book is thorough in terms of each component is explained that is part of DS2. Concepts are reiterated with practical short code examples making it easy to read and re-read sections. All of this in a typical Peter brand of easy flowing writing style coupled with humor interjected in the most appropriate area keeps reading and learning fresh.

Peter succeeded in teaching this old dog DS2 and that is a win. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to re-tool, learn and start using DS2.

Rafi Sheikh
President Analytiks International, Inc.