Chapter 17. Python inside SPSS

In This Chapter

  • Installing Python

  • Running a Python program inside SPSS

  • Getting Python to combine with Syntax

This chapter is the gateway to becoming a SPSS power user. It includes the mechanics you need to know to be able to write Python programs that run inside SPSS. Integrating Python with SPSS makes possible some things that would otherwise be difficult to do in the Syntax language. To use Python, you need to know the basics of the SPSS Syntax command language because you actually reach out of Python and into the Syntax language to issue commands to SPSS. You can think of the Python plug-in as an extension of the built-in Syntax language.

Python was designed to be a general-purpose language, so it has a much larger scope than you'll ever need for SPSS programming. This large scope means that it contains features and capabilities you'll never use within SPSS. On the other hand, it also means that you can solve special problems unique to your situation.

Don't let Python's size intimidate you. It's sort of like having a pocket calculator with lots of extras — if you see a button that doesn't make sense to you, ignore it.

Installing Python for SPSS

Python is not installed as part of the SPSS base system; you have to install it separately. Whether you got your SPSS from a CD or downloaded it from the SPSS Web site, the process of installing Python is fundamentally the same:

  1. Install the IBM SPSS Statistics Python Essentials Package.

    The package is provided with ...

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