SPSS 25 Extensions in the SSCC

Background

The capabilities of SPSS can be extended through various other scripting languages such as Python and R. IBM has added many features to SPSS that rely on these languages.

In SPSS 25, many items you find in the SPSS menus are implemented using Python and are referred to as extension commands. Extension commands can usually be used through either syntax or the SPSS menus.

In addition, users familiar with Python or R can call these languages directly from within SPSS syntax by including their scripts within a block of PROGRAM - END PROGRAM syntax.

Of broad utility to end users, programmers can create SPSS-like syntax and SPSS-like dialog boxes that call programs written in these other languages. The familiarity of the SPSS interface makes it much easier for end users to get up to speed using algorithms based in other languages. This combination of SPSS syntax/dialog and an algorithm in another language is what SPSS calls an extension bundle.

Install SPSS Extension Bundles

To use an extension bundle, it must be installed on the computer you are working on. On the SSCC's Winstat servers and lab computers, this requires someone to download and install the bundles.

You can install extension bundles on individual SSCC-managed computers. To have a bundle installed on all the Winstat servers or all the lab computers (so that you can use it anytime you log on), contact our Help Desk.

If your extension bundle includes any R packages, it will have to be installed by a system administrator, so contact our Help Desk.

Extension Hub

Many extension bundles are hosted online by SPSS and can be installed and updated using the SPSS menus.

To install or update bundles hosted by SPSS, start up SPSS, then click Extensions - Extension Hub. Find your bundle(s) in the list (or use the search box, upper left), and click the Get extension box on the right. Click OK, then in the "Terms of Use" dialog box, change the selection to "I accept" and click OK.

If everything goes according to plan, you should have a note in the SPSS Output Viewer telling you the install was successful, where the bundle files are located, and how to find your new command in the menus.

Local (Other) Extension Bundles

For extension bundles not hosted by SPSS you will need to download the bundles manually (usually through a web browser). If they are packaged as zip files, you will need to unzip them manually as well.

To install a downloaded bundle, start up SPSS, then click Extensions - Install Local Extension Bundle, and navigate to where you saved the downloaded/unzipped bundle (an *.spe file). Select the file and click Open.

You should get a dialog box to pop up, telling you the installation was a success.

We have encountered some "extension bundles" that are set up somewhat differently, for example, Hayes' PROCESS extension. If your bundle has an spd file, but no spe file, install it by clicking Extensions - Utilities - Install Custom Dialog, and navigate to the spd file.

You should be able to use the extension right away.

Troubleshooting

Missing R Packages

If you are using an R extension, and it requires additional packages, they are supposed to be automatically downloaded as you install. If this process hangs up (stalls on the download window) or there is an error reported during this download, contact our Help Desk.

Last Revised: 3 May 2019