I did quite a bit of SAS programming in my work for over 20 years -- actually, from 1980 through 2001. In the early days, SAS was a mainframe-only product, but I liked it anyway. It's PL/I-like syntax resonated with me, then a PL/I programmer. In contrast to other statistical packages like SPSS and BMDP popular at the time, SAS was far more advanced in programming and data management capabilities, a critical differentiator pre SQL and data warehouse eras, when many analyses were one off, and linking disparate data sets was a big challenge. In the early 80's SAS made the strategically-critical decision to expand to mini and personal computers, in the process converting its code base from mainframe Assembler/Fortran/PL/I to the common C language so it could run on any platform. That investment paid off handsomely, catapulting SAS to the top of the statistical software market.
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