Rapid Decision Support

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Rapid Decision Support is the name of a collection of a large number of SAS Macros that have been released under the GNU license. These macros were originally developed by SPIKEware, Inc. (the company has now ceased operations) but the macros are still widely available here. You can find details on each one at the List of RDS SAS Macros.

Use

Use of these programs is in agreement with the GNU licensing agreement. These programs are tested and believed to work but there is no guarantee that they can work on your system. SPIKEware is not responsible for the results of use of these programs.

These programs are SAS Macros and are intended for use with SAS v8.x and above. Please consider testing these macros on your system before using them.

For more information and for documentation on these SAS macros, please visit our website.

Installation

We recommend creating a folder in the !SASROOT directory called MACROS (for example: c:\program files\SAS Institute\SAS\V8\Macros) and placing all macros in folders there. We also recommend keeping the macros separate from their source, such as RDS Macros in a folder called "RDS" and other macros in other folders.

The RDS\Administrator package includes a file called AUTOEXEC.SAS that should be copied to your !SASROOT directory. See your site SAS Administrator for support.

The License Agreement and this readme.txt file must be kept in the folder with the macros.

Although the macros can be modified to meet the needs of the individual sites, the header information and credits to SPIKEware may not be removed.

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Q: What is the difference between a "Function", a "Macro", and a "Method"?

A: First, all are technically "macros" because they use the SAS Macro language. FUNCTIONS and METHODS are specific kinds of SAS Macros. A FUNCTION is specifically designed to return a string from a given set of arguments. A METHOD is specifically designed to function inside a data step. All other macros are simply called "Macros".

Q: How can I learn about the setup, usage, and operation of a macro?

A: The macros are all designed to go in a given macro library. The README.TXT has general setup instructions. However, some macros do require extra work for your site. A simple way to check is to complete a search for the string "###" (three pound signs) which marks any code that may need modification due to site-specific issues. Documentation is included in the comments for every such occurence.

Installation/Usage

Q: How do I install the macros?

We recommend creating a folder in the !SASROOT directory called MACROS (for example: c:\program files\SAS Institute\SAS\V8\Macros) and placing all macros in folders there. We also recommend keeping the macros separate from their source, such as RDS Macros in a folder called "RDS" and other macros in other folders.

The RDS\Administrator package includes a file called AUTOEXEC.SAS that should be copied to your !SASROOT directory. See your site SAS Administrator for support.


Q: How do I use the macros?

Support documentation is located at http://www.spikeware.com/rds/index.html As of May 20, 2011, or earlier, the domain is a squatter domain. Does anyone have a copy?

An archived version of the documentation is available via the Internet Archive.
An updated version with new macros is available

SPIKEware.net

Q: where can I learn more about the macros?

Supporting documentation is located on the internet at http://www.spikeware.com/rds.html [archived version].


Q: I am having trouble with one of the macros. How can I troubleshoot?

A: Macro FUNCTIONS and METHODS require different approaches to troubleshooting. Because FUNCTIONS and METHODS are set up for specific applications, they should be handled individually. Regular "MACROS" (the "all-other" category) can provide a jump-start for troubleshooting by entering the option DEBUG=YES when calling the macro. This will turn on several options that will assist with troubleshooting and will not automatically delete any data sets or views created by the macro.

Licensing

Q: Can I change or modify the macros?

A: Yes. Feel free to change or modify the macros as you see fit. Any changes or modifications (including syntax, purpose, notes, etc) should be noted in the header.


Q: Are there any limits to the modifications I can make?

A: It would violate the license agreement to remove the header information including the licensing section and references to SPIKEware. We have devoted many, many hours to the development of these tools--some have been developed and tested for more than ten years. We have made these tools freely available in exchange for keeping our name and contact information with the programs.


Q: Can I distribute the macros to others?

A: Yes, under the following terms: 1) The recipient agrees to the terms of the license, 2) Any modifications are noted in the headers and disclosed to the recipient, 3) there is no charge for the programs. The official wording is "you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation--either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version."

Q: Where can I view the full license?

A: The file "license.txt" included in the download. You can also view it at http://www.spikeware.com/license.html or write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307.

Archived version of the licensing information.

Applications

Q: How secure are %ENCRYPT, %DECRYPT, and %SCRAMBLE?

A: %ENCRYPT, %DECRYPT, and %SCRAMBLE are designed for very simple encryption. They would not slow down any serious hackers.

Q: %XLS2SAS and %SAS2XLS cannot find my copy of Microsoft Excel. What can I do?

A: Both macros have a default path set up in the creation %MACRO statement. You will need to find the physical file location of your copy of MS-excel and enter it in to the declaration default.

Non-SAS Components

Q: Where can I learn more about the Windows batch files?

A: Each Windows Batch File has its own comments and instructions in the code like the SAS Macros. The batch files also contain installation instructions and support. Type batchfile /? to learn more.

Q: Where should I install the Windows batch files?

A: We recommend placing them in the c:\Windows (or Windows Root) directory. However, they can be placed in any folder defined in your PATH (type PATH /? from a DOS prompt for more information).

Q: Why have you included several PDF files?

A: Because they may be helpful and contain information developed through the lifetime of the Rapid Decision Support system.