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You Can't Always Get What You Want...

Unfortunately, a part of the software development process is giving up features that we hoped would be included in the software. JMP 9 demonstrates that, sometimes, you get an even better feature in return.

For a few releases now, some of you have asked for a tool to let you divide a continuous variable into groups. For example, you may have data for all your sales transactions, and you want to create three groups for the small, medium and large transactions. But where should the cutpoints between those groups be? It would help to look at a histogram of the distribution of transactions to see where to put them.

We weren't able to get a tool like that into JMP 9. But, with apologies to The Rolling Stones, we got what we needed in this case. In fact, we got something better: JMP add-ins.

With JMP add-ins, it's really easy to extend the functionality of JMP through JMP Scripting Language (JSL) and then distribute that extension to other JMP users.

I wrote the Interactive Binning add-in to create the feature that we didn't get into JMP 9.

With the add-in, you see a histogram of your column and an initial cutpoint to create two groups: one below and one above the cutpoint. Just drag the cutpoint to change its location.

If you want, you can add another cutpoint using the "Add Cutpoint" button. Now you've got three groups.

When you've got the cutpoints the way you want them, you can name the groups using the Group Name fields. You can leave them blank if you want the groups' names to be based on the ranges.

Finally, go to the red triangle menu and choose "Save Group Column" to get a new column in the data table with your groups.

Download this add-in for yourself and then double-click on the .jmpaddin file to install it in JMP. It's that simple.

After it's installed, look in the Add-In menu, and you'll find Interactive Binning.

Add-ins are easy to develop, and there's virtually no limit to what they can do. You can call external DLLs, make your own graphs, and call SAS or R.

I'll have another post soon showing how to turn your JSL into an add-in. In the meantime, if you've got an idea for an extension to JMP, post it in the comments. Perhaps you'll see it as an add-in soon.

The library of available add-ins for JMP will grow over time. If you don't find what you want now, keep checking. Maybe you'll get you what you need.

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Martin Owen wrote:

We didn't ask for this to be JMP9, though when we were exploring data visualisation and scripting with Malcolm Moore and explaining what we wanted, he pointed out that in order to answe rthe type of questions we were articulating, we needed a tool to split continuous data into groups. And hey presto, Jeff's written the tool that does this. So if you had asked us whether we needed a tool called interactive binning we wouldn't have appreciated the value this brings. Once we understood that this meant "hey, let me know which experiments/batches have reponses between 15 to 30 units", then this a feature we realised we really needed


Is your data too precise? wrote:

[...] binning is to build a histogram of the data and using the bins in the histogram as the predictor. A previous blog post described an interactive binning tool that you can use to do this sort of binning manually. A third example of binning is to use a [...]