Update 15Jun2015: The Metadata Explorer plug-in discussed in this blog post was first made publicly available with Metacoda Plug-ins V3.0. It has been enhanced in subsequent releases and now supports additional SAS platform versions beyond those originally mentioned in this post (such as SAS 9.4). For more information on supported SAS versions, please see the Metacoda Plug-ins System Requirements page.
My work at Metacoda involves lots of metadata, as does my work as in SAS® platform administration. I spend a lot of time looking inside SAS metadata repositories, searching for objects, looking at their attributes, following their associations to other objects, and generally getting to grips with the SAS Metadata Model. I write programs that use the SAS Open Metadata Interface, primarily using the SAS Java Metadata Interface, but sometimes using the SAS Language Interface to Metadata usually via PROC METADATA.
When I originally started to explore metadata, I used the metabrowse feature in Foundation SAS. I really liked it, but I’m not always working on, or have easy access to, a machine that has Base SAS installed (and I wanted to do some more extensive searching). I do spend a lot of time inside the SAS Management Console though. I tried using the XML Metadata Interface in SAS Management Console 9.1 for a short while but found it made me think too much about how to do the query, rather than what it was I was looking for. I also found working with the raw XML results returned by the XML Metadata Interface plug-in was a bit challenging too and it distracted me from my original purpose of finding metadata. As an aside, the SAS Management Console XML Metadata Interface plug-in is no longer available by default in SAS Management Console 9.2 and 9.3, but it is still available. If you need it, you can find instructions on how to enable it in a SAS Global Forum 2012 paper.
Now, as many programmers do when they can’t quite find what they are looking for, they write their own tools, and this is what I did. “scratching an itch” is a term I often hear programmers use to describe this. My goals for this ideal metadata exploration tool, which evolved over time, were along these lines: Continue reading “Metacoda’s Metadata Explorer Plug-in”