⨳ rebuilding wide macros ⨳

July 9, 2014

Recently I needed to pull the values of potentially long macro variables (more than 200 characters) from the dictionary tables (sashelp.vmacro in this case). I couldn’t simply use the actual macro variable because the main program was dataset-driven. The bottom line was that I needed a dataset containing the macro values in a single variable with one observation per macro variable.

For example,

data _null_;
	format long_macro $512.;
	long_macro=repeat('0123456789ABCDEF', 31);
	call symput('LONG_MACRO', long_macro);

proc print data=sashelp.vmacro noobs;
    where scope eq 'GLOBAL'
    	and name eq 'LONG_MACRO';
    format value $25.;
    var offset value;

/* output
offset    value

    0     0123456789ABCDEF012345678
  200     89ABCDEF0123456789ABCDEF0
  400     0123456789ABCDEF012345678

My initial approach was to simply go over the dictionary table and retain/append a new variable but neither cat nor || worked quite right. The issue is that spaces are important in my case, so the cats function was a no-go[^The macro values could contain spaces and if those spaces happened to land on the 200-character increments, then two words would get smashed together.].

I could have used a substr function on the left of the equal like this:

data _null_;
	set sashelp.vmacro;
	where scope eq 'GLOBAL'
		and name eq 'LONG_MACRO';
	format fullvalue $512.;
	retain fullvalue;
	start = (_n_-1) * 200 + 1;
	substr(fullvalue, start, 200) = value;
	put _n_ @5 start @10 length fullvalue $25.;

/* output
1   1    200 0123456789ABCDEF012345678
2   201  400 0123456789ABCDEF012345678
3   401  500 0123456789ABCDEF012345678

Which is simple enough when you need to get to exactly one macro variable, but with more than one, you’d need to sort the data and use first. variables to set up and increment a counter variable as opposed to simply using _n_.

Then I figured I’d try to simply transpose the dictionary table and then cat the different columns. This worked.

***	get the macro snippets sorted right.;
proc sort data=sashelp.vmacro out=macros;
	by scope name offset;

***	transpose by scope and name on offset.;
proc transpose data=macros
		out=macros prefix=offset_;
	by scope name;
	id offset;
	var value;

***	reassemble macros to original (wider) values.;
data macros(rename=value2=value);
	format scope name $32. value2 $32000.;
    set macros;
	value2 = cat(of offset_:);
	drop value offset_: _name_ _label_;

Now I have access to the full macro variable values from a dataset for any proc I need.

rebuilding wide macros - July 9, 2014 -