SAS processing is the way that the SAS language reads and transforms input data and generates the kind of output that you request. The DATA step and the procedure (PROC) step are the two steps in the SAS language. Generally, the DATA step manipulates data, and the PROC step analyzes data, produces output, or manages SAS files. These two types of steps, used alone or combined, form the basis of SAS programs. The following figure shows a high level view of SAS processing using a DATA step and a PROC step. The figure focuses primarily on the DATA step.
You can use different types of data as input to a DATA step. The DATA step is composed of SAS statements that you write, which contain instructions for processing the data. As each DATA step in a SAS program is compiling or executing, SAS generates a log that contains processing messages and error messages. These messages can help you debug a SAS program.