The main aim of this action is to ensure support, testing, maintenance and development of SDC software of interest to the NSIs in the ESS.
Currently, for NSIs and Eurostat SDC software tools are available to apply several SDC methods.
Each software tool can be considered as consisting of an user interface (UI) and the underlying methods offered through the UI (like modular, optimal, СТА, hypercube, local suppression, PRAM, swapping, ...). The interfaces provide a kind of IT service for making the underlying methods accessible for the users in their respective IT environments. The following interfaces are available:
- ARGUS (μ-ARGUS, T-ARGUS) and the
- R-packages (sdcMicro, sdcMicroGUI, sdcTable, SimPop).
Regarding the underlying methods, we assume that some of them are "parallel" in the sense that the different inferfaces offer similar, but not exactly identical versions. As this parallelity is neither sustainable nor desirable, another goal of the action is to identify such parallel functionalities and to select those that shall be supported.
Notably, we define this aim with respect to the underlying methods, not regarding the UIs: the UI's cannot be regarded as parallel services, because they indeed provide different services for different kind of users and this is an important merit.
The R- sdc interface packages obviously offer to integrate the SDC tools into an R-software environment. This is certainly an advantage for a (perhaps growing number) of R-using potential users of SDC methods. On the other hand, at least for complex problems users need to have knowledge in R to professionally use these tools, even though the tools can be called by other software, and despite of an existing graphical interface for sdcMicro. For users who are not familiar with R, this may pose a - perhaps major - obstacle, also depending on an NSI 's IT strategies and where efforts have been undertaken to integrate a tool into another environment like SAS, for example. We therefore recognize different user groups of the different SDC UIs and hence a need to keep both types of UIs (ARGUS vs. R-sdc).