DLG Software

Application development

  with JavaScript, Flex, and AIR

This is a very brief introduction to the SAS system. SAS covers a lot of ground so this page just hits the high points — visit the SAS site for a wealth of detailed content on the many SAS products and services.

SAS - The company

SAS Institute Inc. is one of the largest privately held software companies in the world, with almost $3 billion in 2012 revenue. A leader in business analytics software (SAS started in the 80's as a suite of statistical analysis tools) it now has a wide range of products including data integration/warehousing, data mining, data visualization and much more. SAS has an very high penetration in Fortune 500 companies, less so in small to midsize companies (in part because of cost — not cheap). In some industries it is a de facto standard, in particular in the Pharmaceutical industry (approximately 98% penetration).

Because SI isn't a public company it's able to plow an exceptionally large percentage of profits back into R&D (2009 R&D investment: 23% of revenue). It has a very low employee turnover rate and repeatedly wins awards for being a great place to work (in 2010 it was ranked #1 on Fortune's annual list of "Best Companies to Work For").

SAS - The software

SAS software provides a suite of products for analyzing/exploiting data. The core of the system is Base SAS, providing the foundation for most other SAS products. Base SAS includes a sophisticated data manipulation language (way more powerful than SQL, though SAS fully supports ANSI standard SQL if that's what you prefer), basic statistical analysis and reporting, output in XML/PDF/HTML/RTF/etc., a macro language, and much more.

On top of Base SAS you can add SAS products with a remarkable range of functionality. This includes horizontal products for data mining, data integration/warehousing, advanced statistical analysis, data visualization and much more. It also includes vertical products for industries like Pharmaceutical (SAS Drug Development), Banking and Wall Street (SAS for Financial Services), Aerospace and Defense (SAS for Aerospace), etc. Again, the breadth of analytical and reporting tools is truly remarkable — there's even a product called SAS for Casinos.

It's important to note that SAS can transparently read/write data from a wide variety of DBMS's (e.g., Oracle) and data formats (e.g., XML). These capabilities and its data transform capabilities and supporting features like metadata management make it an excellent choice for building data warehouses.

SAS also provides products not directly related to data analysis and reporting. This includes products for creating both desktop and web-based applications. For more info see my pages on these topics.

Note that SAS is available across pretty much any combination of OS and processor you can think of, from big iron like IBM mainframes to many flavors of Unix to, of course, Windows PCs. One of the great strengths of SAS is that its code is fully portable between these environments (SAS was cross-platform long before Java).

Some References

Flex/AIR certification logo


JavaScript appdev primers

General JavaScript

SPA Demo Application

Backbone Demo Application

Recommended sites


Flex/AIR primers

Flex demo apps

all require Flash Player!

AIR mobile dev


SAS Introduction