The DATA step consists
of a group of SAS statements that begins with a DATA statement. The
DATA statement begins the process of building a SAS data set and names
the data set. The statements that make up the DATA step are compiled,
and the syntax is checked. If the syntax is correct, then the statements
are executed. In its simplest form, the DATA step is a loop with an
automatic output and return action.
The following figure
illustrates the flow of action in a simple DATA step.
Figure 3.7 Flow of Action in a Typical DATA Step