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User:Mbogelund/BlogEntry: 2009 March 06 09:52:36 EST

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Introducing the Stack Overflow site to the SAS community

The good old SAS-L newsgroup and SAS support are excellent places to seek help for your everyday SAS programming challenges. And SASCommunity.net is a good supplement to these sources. Still I'd like to introduce the free programming Q & A site called Stack Overflow. Please take some time to look at Joel Spolskys introduction to Stack Overflow. Joel Spolsky is one of the people behind Stack Overflow.

"What's so great about yet another programming Q & A site? And why should SAS coders care?" you might ask. The three ingredients that make Stack overflow great are

  • Great reputation-, rating- and feedback-system
  • Not specific to any programming language
  • Backed by a great community

This means that you can ask SAS programming questions, JavaScript questions, SQL questions, HTML questions, ... and you have access to a lot of people who actually master these topics. Asking a MySQL specific question at a SAS specific forum might give you an answer, that might be helpful. It even might be the best possible answer. But since you posted your question to a group of SAS coders, you could still be sitting next to your computer, wondering if you could have gotten an even better answer by asking your question in a MySQL specific forum.

The voting system helps by enabling you to give a vote to answers you find helpful, and even to vote for good and interesting questions. And if you were the one asking the question, you can even flag the answer that you find is the best or correct one, so that any subsequent searches for that question will immediately show the best answer - Without having to read an endless line of chit-chat before getting to a posting that is helpful.

But that's not all. There are a lot of features that help making that site a really great tool for your coding questions - More than I care to mention here, you should go and check it out for yourself!

I've asked some SAS specific questions at Stack Overflow, and I actually got some good and useful answers, putting my expectation that I'd be the only SAS coder there, to shame.

I can definitely recommend Stack Overflow to all you SAS coders out there - and the more SAS coders we are at Stack Overflow, the better the SAS-answers will be. Access to Q & A related to other technologies and programming languages is also helpful, if you, like me, often involve non-SAS technology in your projects.

As long as you remember that only programming questions are allowed, you'll get a lot of help - so don't send support requests for a non-functioning monitor, don't ask for advice picking the best anti-virus utility, etc. Programming related questions only!

Go have a look! I promise you'll like it!