Progress Bars in R

Recently, I’ve had a lot of time consuming tasks running in R where it’s nice to know how the computer is doing. I usually just output the name of the current iteration or a dot or something but I finally decided I should figure out how to make a nice progress bar in R. It turns out it’s really simple since it’s already builtin with the txtProgressBar function. So you can do something like:

[R] numberSteps<-10 pb <- txtProgressBar(min = 0, max = numberSteps, style = 3) for(i in 1:numberSteps){ setTxtProgressBar(pb, i) Sys.sleep(1) } close(pb) [/R] A text progress bar in R

That’s good enough for me but there’s also winProgressBar for a fancy Windows progress bar and tkProgressBar (in the tcltk package) if you really want to get fancy.


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Getting Help with SAS

SAS source code

There was some discussion in one of my SAS posts about where to find SAS help and communities. It seemed like a pretty useful topic so I thought I’d expand it a bit and make a post out of it. First, let me say I’m not the most knowledgeable since I’m more of a find-wall-bang-head type of programmer but I did my best to dig up some possible answers. If anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

  • To start with, there’s always the official online documentation although this tends to be more for polishing something you already know how to do than starting cold.
  • Speaking of official, there’s also the official SAS forums. I didn’t know about these until I started looking around for this post so I can’t say much about them but the topics they have available seem rather specific and I can’t figure out where one would go to post a basic question.
  • Edit:There’s also the SAS Knowledge Base that has a lot of good papers and notes detailing SAS features complete with sample code and explanations. It’s really useful if you’re a learn by example type. (Thanks to Alison for pointing this one out).
  • Kelly Levoyer of SAS points out which seems like it is a little sparse but does have a surprisingly long list of SAS-related blogs.
  • The SAS company also appears to have jumped on the blogging band wagon although really only SAS Dummy looks helpful for learning SAS at the moment.
  • The only place that seem to be available for asking general question is the SAS-L email list (which I just found out is the same as the Usenet group). There’s a nice paper on SAS-L etiquette (mostly do your homework first) (found via the sascommunity site).

Offline, there are also SAS user groups. I often get emails from our local one but I’ve never actually gone. The SAS company also has trainers that travel and teach quick classes. Our university stats department brought in one to teach a couple short two-day classes about statistical functions and macros. The classes were pretty good although I’m not sure how much it cost or how frequent they are. It might be worth checking on if you’re near a university.

Finally, you can also read my poor attempts at explaining SAS macro variables and SAS macros. Also, if you have any specific questions you can try asking in the comments here and if it’s not too time consuming I’ll try to lend a hand.


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