DLG Software

Application development

  with JavaScript, Flex, and AIR

This is a short intro into SAS applications development, providing some background/history and summarizing current SAS appdev options. A list of resources provides links to much more detail on this topic.

SAS applications development

The first real application development product for SAS was SAS/AF (Application Facility). Released in the 80's, SAS/AF could create both graphical and character-based UIs (the latter necessary because SAS ran in environments like mainframes and VAX's). In its early years SAS created the UIs for most of its own products using SAS/AF.

Eventually SAS/AF developed into an OOP app development environment with a rich component set, a Java-like language (SCL) and an excellent IDE. SAS/AF had seamless integration with all SAS products largely because its apps executed within a SAS session (i.e., the user had to be able to run Base SAS in order to execute a SAS/AF app).

With the rise of the web SAS began adding products for web-based app development. First was SAS/IntrNet, essentially a CGI interface that let a developer surface SAS programs and data to HTTP requests. Another early product was Eclipse-based Web/AF, later rolled into AppDev Studio, which allows creation of JSP's and Java applets.

In the mid-2000's SAS shifted its focus from SAS/AF to Java. Several products were developed in Java, such as Enterprise Miner and Information Map Studio, though SAS has developed a few MS-Win apps such as Enterprise Guide. Around this time SAS ceased using SAS/AF for its own products, and in fact suspended development of SAS/AF for a time (it is once again an active product, but with minimal ongoing development).

At the same time, SAS increased support for industry standard APIs such as Com and .NET. These APIs opened the SAS system to apps written in languages such as Java, C#, VB, etc. SAS Integration Technologies consolidated support for APIs into one product, and SAS 9 also brought better support for web services.

For more info on SAS Integration Technologies and SAS support for distributed processing see my post SAS and RIAs.
SAS also has products for guided application development, allowing you to create apps/portals/portlets largely through point-and-click and metadata entry. In the early years there was SAS Executive Information System (SAS/EIS), later WebEIS, and now the primary product is SAS Business Intelligence (SAS BI).

With its Business Intelligence products SAS has begun introducing Flash into its own products. The SAS Business Intelligence Dashboard, a plug-in to the SAS Information Delivery Portal, currently makes use of Flash. Using its dashboard builder you can create Flash dashboard elements that consume SAS stored processes.

For more info on SAS BI see the links below, will probably create a page dedicated to this topic soon...
As for RIAs, APIs like web services make SAS very open to most RIA products.

For more info on SAS use of RIAs see my page SAS and RIAs.

Some References

Here are some SGF papers on SAS BI. See the SGF archives (Application Development section) for many similar papers.

SAS BI for 9.2 has numerous enhancements over 9.1.3. This is especially true for SAS BI Dashboard 4.3. Here is a summary of changes.

And here is SAS doc on BI with focus on creating portlets for the Dashboard.

Flex/AIR certification logo


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all require Flash Player!

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