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README.md

Stata language support in Atom

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Use the Stata Jupyter kernel with Atom's Hydrogen package to show Stata results inline. It works with Windows, macOS, and Linux.

Example uses the Atom Material Syntax theme and Fira Code font.

Features

This package highlights:

  • System commands, functions, and function arguments
  • Macros, both global and local
    • Accurately colors nested macros and escaped macros in strings when you want the inner macro to evaluate at runtime
    • Colors macro extended functions inside `: ... ' as well as after local lname:
  • Comments, more accurately than Stata's Do-file Editor.
  • Regular expressions
    • Colors both the limited syntax provided through the regexr() and regexm() functions, as well as the vastly expanded regex syntax provided in Stata 14 and 15 through the ustrregexm(), ustrregexrf(), and ustrregexra() functions.
  • Dynamic Markdown and LaTeX documents. Instructions below.

Other nice features:

  • Works with unicode identifiers. Use unicode anywhere it's legal Stata syntax.
  • Autocomplete for functions with a drop-down help menu. (This can be turned off in the settings).
  • Autocomplete for commands and macros.
  • Alerts you if your variable name is illegal, i.e. if your variable name is more than 32 chars, starts with a number, or is a reserved name.
  • Alerts you if you have any text other than } on a line ending a foreach/forvalues/if/else command
  • Local macro back tick autocompletion. When you write a `, Atom automatically fills in a ' after your cursor
  • Makes it easy to spot incorrect nesting of compound quotes
  • Support for programming ligatures for all valid Stata syntax for fonts that support them, like the Fira Code font.
  • Highlights SQL queries used in the odbc command. (The language-sql base package must be active.)
  • Highlights Docblockr-style keywords inside comments (anything like @Note)

Installation

To install, do one of the following:

  • Go to Preferences/Settings > Install > Packages; and then search for language-stata
  • At the command line, type apm install language-stata

The local macro back tick autocompletion won't function until you fully restart Atom. Do ctrl-shift-P or cmd-shift-P to bring up the command palette, type Window: Reload, and click enter.

Configuration

Atom allows you to toggle whether a line is commented using ctrl+/. As of version 1.6.5, the comment character this uses is // by default. You can change this to use /* */ or * characters to comment lines.

To change to /* */ comments, you can put the following in your config.cson file.

'.source.stata':
  editor:
    commentStart: '/* '
    commentEnd: ' */'

To change to * comments, use the following. However I don't recommend using this character1.

'.source.stata':
  editor:
    commentStart: '* '

Note that in your config.cson file there can only be a single '.source.stata' top-level key, and only a single editor key under '.source.stata'. If you customize some other settings within the Stata grammar, you might already have a '.source.stata' key, and thus you would add the commentStart key to it.

Running Code

There are three ways to run code in Stata from Atom

  1. The Hydrogen package in conjunction with the Stata Jupyter kernel shows Stata results inside Atom next to your code. The gif at the top of the page is an example of this setup. A few features:

    • Works with Windows, macOS, and Linux. Has an easier install on Windows than stata-exec.
    • Use a different session of Stata for each file, or connect them all to the same session.
    • Autocompletions as you type based on the variables and macros in memory
    • Use any type of comments in your code
    • Low-latency connections with remote sessions of Stata. Possible to reconnect to a running remote session if you get disconnected.
    • Use #delimit ; interactively with your code
    • Run code blocks within a Stata dynamic document

    You'll need to have both Hydrogen and stata_kernel installed. You can install Hydrogen from the Atom settings pane; see the stata_kernel documentation for more information on how to install stata_kernel.

  2. The stata-exec package sends selected Stata code to an open Stata GUI window on Windows, macOS, and Linux. This differs from Hydrogen because it allows you to still interact with the Stata GUI. This might be easier for users who are new to Stata. However, it can be difficult to successfully install this on Windows.

  3. The script package will run code in the Stata console, but has the limitations 1) each command is run in a separate session of Stata, 2) it currently doesn't work with selections; you have to run the entire file, 3) it doesn't work on Windows.

Dynamic Documents

Stata 15 brought new features for working with dynamic documents. The dyndoc command lets you write in Markdown and converts your file and code to HTML for viewing in a web browser.

It also added the dyntext command, which fills in Stata output for any text file, without touching the text itself. This lets you then use third-party document generators like Pandoc and LaTeX to generate documents.

Syntax Highlighting

This package provides syntax highlighting for Stata code written inside Stata's dynamic tags for Markdown and LaTeX documents.

By default, this package's Markdown and LaTeX syntax highlighting will be applied for files ending in .domd and .dotex respectively. The language-markdown and language-latex packages must be installed for the highlighting to work.

If you name your file with a different extension, you can manually set the highlighting by clicking on the "Plain Text" button on the bottom right of the screen (or by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+L). Then type stata and you'll see a list of choices: grammar-picker For a .do file, choose source.stata; for a Markdown dynamic document choose source.dyndoc.md.stata; and for a LaTeX dynamic document choose source.dyndoc.latex.stata.

Both Hydrogen and stata-exec should work for running code interactively, even within a dynamic document.

Examples

An example of the PDF output of using dyntext and Pandoc is in the examples folder: dyntext.pdf.

That file was created by running

dyntext dyntext.domd, saving(dyntext.md) replace

from inside Stata 15, and then with

pandoc dyntext.md -o dyntext.pdf

on the command line using Pandoc.

The file dyntext.dotex is a proof-of-concept and should compile with LaTeX but the output is not shown here.

Webdoc support

If you use the user-created command webdoc, you can add highlighting by using a .dowd file extension or by manually selecting the language of the current file to be "Stata Webdoc".

Footnotes

1: The following code is legal Stata code, but Atom will confuse the * used as multiplication with the * used for a comment. So if your cursor is on the second line and you press ctrl+/, Atom will remove the * symbol and the semantic meaning of the multiplication will be lost. Thus using // as the comment symbol is safer.

display 2 ///
  * 2
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