Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dispatch from Nerdistan

I spent the good portion of my day trying to figure out how to get the free text editor Notepad++ to be compatible with Stata. Why, might you ask, am I doing this? Because among the things that are terribly wrong with Stata (and, I have to admit, for commercial ready-to-use software, there is very little...ehem), is that it's command-file editor is awful. If you make more than two mistakes in a row, and this would include what I perceive to be of deleting two separate lines at almost the same time, you lose that information. It is like writing on Microsoft Word back in the days of 286 processors.

The other really bad part of Stata's .do-file editor is that it does not highlight syntax. This may seem like a trivial thing, but since most of the work that I have gotten paid to do over the past two years is very intense scripting in order to make a very complex dataset usable - I have files that are approaching several thousand lines long. Not being able to find commands has become a huge pain (and making sure that I close all of my loops so that I don't have to run files over and over and over again). But, thanks to the help of some very very smart people (who are also, coincidentally great teachers if I was able to figure out how to do this) I managed to get the whole thing integrated so that I don't have to worry about making one two mistakes in a row anymore.

So why I am I telling you this, dear reader(s)? Because a) I am damn proud of myself for being able to figure it out, even when I thought that hope was lost; and b) because I know that some people occasionally read this blog who mess around in scripting languages and, therefore, I also wanted to sing the praises of Notepad++ and AutoIt for making it possible. Yup, I know, I'm a nerd; but a nerd who may manage to keep his sanity and eyesight for just a little bit longer!


Rebecca Thorman said...

My first post was about how proud of myself I was for figuring out how to blog. Triumph over technology does bring out a certain satisfaction!

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