I do not think the discussion here is about other features. I think there's a group of people who could organize and work for CTABLES in PSPP.
Moreover, the macros are not an agnostic solution ... may be different languages to choose from and for the end user means learning more than SPSS / PSPP to use a special function.
Agree with you, the work done by Ben is magnificent. If I'm not mistaken, only lack support for SPSS production job and SPV files. Under the same argument, it would be very useful for all PSPP command had its counterpart in PSPPire.
But I insist that if there is a group interested in operating CTABLES, we must support it. Any further new feature compatible with SPSS should be welcomed.
> Subject: Re: CTABLES
> To: email@example.com
> From: ***@email.it
> Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 23:31:41 +0100
> Forgive me if I insist: (C)TABLES belongs to a time when we delivered
> mass "big banner" cross tabulations in an appendix for an end user who
> had no access to the data. I almost dare say it encourages bad
> Since all of us seem to agree that aesthetics are not the reason for
> wanting CTABLES, why not concentrate on implementing macros instead? I
> believe it is possible to create tables of any complexity, through
> various stages of AGGREGATE.
> That's a pain, I agree, and that's where macros come in. Macros would
> allow dummies like me to contribute table formats (that's a promise),
> and to exchange contributions with the SPSS community.
> Last but not least, macros would be useful for a lot of other reasons
> anyway (as an example see the WRITE / INCLUDE in
> On 07/11/2015 21:49, Alan Mead wrote:
> What does CTABLES do? And what aspects of CTABLES would be critical
> for users? I think a plan should be the first step. If CTABLES were
> part of PSPP, is the output OK? Or would that be the next hurdle to
> using PSPP that the output isn't the same as SPSS (e.g., I find it
> harder to copy-and-paste from PSPP into LibreOffice than SPSS; when you
> copy a chart from SPSS for Windows, it's actually placing several
> versions of the chart in the paste buffer). If the output won't
> ultimately be useable, that makes adding CTABLES a waste of time...
> Also, I'm sure CTABLES is very important to some people but a lot of
> SPSS users probably have never used CTABLES (just like they've never
> used any of the other special modules SPSS publishes or even the new
> features like python scripting). I think that contributes to its
> absence in PSPP.
> Finally, I know how statistics are calculated, but not only don't I
> know what CTABLES does but I understand that the emphasis is on simply
> tallies across complex breakdowns... I don't have any feel for how one
> efficiently does this in code.
> BTW, I think a better big project would be to enable PSPP to read the
> SPSS output format. I know Ben enjoys reverse engineering things.
> Thanks largely to Ben and PSPP contributors, the SPSS file format is
> widely read (e.g., the R foreign package is based on Ben's code to read
> SPSS .SAV files) but the output is completely opaque to all programs
> except SPSS. In fact, it's worse than that because there are versions
> of SPSS that won't read other versions. That's actually a huge problem
> for people who used SPSS to analyze data and all they kept was the
> output files or anyone who ever saved the output in the hope that they
> could read it years later....
> On 11/7/2015 5:22 AM, Matthias Faeth wrote:
> I think we have to find somebody who has done that kind of project
> steering before (I haven't). Can everybody look into their contacts to
> find somebody who would have the skills and will to steer such a
> However I'd volunteer to participate in the workgroup defining the
> priority of the functions of the CTABLES command. Maybe Frans and Alan
> would want to join?
> I agree with John that a commercial implementation would produce 5
> figured cost. I've already talked to a programmer on this and he came
> up with the same estimate. So doing it commercially seems to be no way
> Matthias Fäth
> Im Mediapark 12
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> 2015-11-07 7:19 GMT+01:00 John Darrington
> Funding the implementation of a fully blown CTABLES at commercial rates,
> I think would cost well into 5 figures.
> However, it is perhaps possible, that a smaller subset of CTABLES could
> be undertaken by an altruistic programmer who has some time on his
> hands and wishes to earn a bit of money for a few months.
> The problem, is (and this is where big companies have the advantage) most
> programmers are not good administrators. To crowdfund such an exercise
> one would first have to agree on which subset of CTABLES to undertake.
> That means, a detailed specification, with examples showing exactly what
> would be expected, which features of CTABLES should be included, and perhaps
> more importantly, which are not expected. Once that has been agreed,
> an estimate of the time and cost could be prepared an appeal for funds
> could begin.
> This kind of organisation, takes skill and effort, and would probably
> have no tangible reward, unless some percentage of the total was agreed
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