Python Programs for Non-Python People

February 4, 2010

Python programs written to run in BEGIN PROGRAM blocks are easy to write and add lots of functionality to IBM SPSS Statistics.  Many users have learned to create these. More users, though, do not know the Python language.

The extension command mechanism provides a way for users of traditional SPSS syntax to run Python programs written by someone else without needing any knowledge of Python.  But the program must have been written as an extension command.  While creating extension commands isn’t hard, it does require some extra knowledge and work.  (An article on how to do this is available on Developer Central.)

I have posted a new extension command, SPSSINC PROGRAM, that allows ordinary Python programs to be run with traditional syntax without the author having created an extension command: easy on the author and easy on the user.

Often someone writes and shares a Python program for use via BEGIN PROGRAM that requires some input parameters.  The BEGIN PROGRAM syntax does not allow for parameters, so the user must modify the program itself to specify these.  If you know Python, this is not a problem, but many users are uncomfortable doing that, since the Python language is