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SAS Companion for the OS/2 Environment

Using Unnamed Pipes

Unnamed pipes enable you to run a program outside the SAS System and redirect the program's input, output, and error messages to the SAS System. This capability enables you to capture data from a program that is external to the SAS System without creating an intermediate data file.

For unnamed pipes to work with OS/2 applications that are external to the SAS System, the application program must read data from standard input (STDIN), write output to standard output (STDOUT), and write errors to standard error (STDERR). These files have numeric file handles associated with them, as follows:

File File Handle

When the SAS System captures STDERR from another application, the error messages are routed by default to the SAS log. If you want to write to STDIN in another application, you can use a PUT statement in a SAS DATA step. Because the SAS System can write to STDIN and capture from STDOUT in the same application, unnamed pipes can be used to send data to an external program, as well as to capture the output and error messages of the same program. You can use redirection sequences to redirect STDIN, STDOUT, and STDERR. For more information, see Using Redirection Sequences or your OS/2 documentation.

Unnamed Pipe Syntax

To use an unnamed pipe, issue a FILENAME statement with the following syntax:

FILENAME fileref PIPE 'program-name' option-list

You can use the following arguments with this form of the FILENAME statement:

is any valid fileref, as described in Referencing External Files.

is the device-type keyword that tells the SAS System that you want to use an unnamed pipe.

specifies the external OS/2 application program. This argument must fully specify the pathname to the program, or the path to the directory containing the program must be contained in the OS/2 PATH environment variable. This argument can also contain program options. For example, you can specify the following argument to indicate that you want to run the STOCKMKT program on all stocks:
'stockmkt.exe -all'

can be any of the options that are valid in the FILENAME statement, such as the LRECL= or RECFM= options. For a complete list of options that are available for the FILENAME statement under OS/2, see FILENAME.

Using Redirection Sequences

Any OS/2 application that accommodates standard input, output, and error messages can use the unnamed pipe feature. Because many OS/2 system commands use standard input, output, and error messages, you can use these commands with unnamed pipes within SAS. Unless you specify otherwise, an unnamed pipe directs STDOUT and STDERR to two different files. To combine the STDOUT and STDERR into the same file, use redirection sequences. The following is an example that redirects STDERR to STDOUT for the OS/2 DIR command:

filename listing pipe 'dir *.sas 2>&1';

In this example, if any errors occur in executing this command, STDERR (2) is redirected to the same file as STDOUT (1). This is an example of the SAS System's ability to capitalize on operating environment capabilities. This feature of redirecting file handles is a function of the OS/2 operating environment rather than of the SAS System.

Unnamed Pipe Example

In the following example, you use unnamed pipes to produce financial reports. This example assumes that you have a stand-alone program that updates stock market information from a financial news bureau. You need the SAS System to run a stock market report with the most recently created data from the stock market program. Here is how you create and use the pipe within your SAS session:

filename stocks pipe 'stockmkt.exe -all';
data report;
   infile stocks;
   input stock $ open close change;
proc print;
   var stock open close change;
   sum change;
   title 'Stock Market Report';

In this example, the PIPE device-type keyword in the FILENAME statement indicates that the fileref STOCKS is an unnamed pipe. The STOCKMKT.EXE reference is the name of the stand-alone program that generates the stock market data. The INFILE statement causes the SAS System to execute the STOCKMKT.EXE program and read the data in the pipe from it. The STOCKMKT.EXE program is executed without your being aware that it is running. Because the fileref STOCKS has already been defined as an unnamed pipe, the standard output from STOCKMKT.EXE is redirected to the SAS System and captured through the INFILE statement. The SAS program reads in the variables and uses the PRINT procedure to generate a printed report. Any error messages that are generated by STOCKMKT.EXE appear in the SAS log.

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Copyright 1999 by SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA. All rights reserved.