Maybe you have been dreaming, under a form or another, of a universal
"data holder", something where you stow *all* the data you're
gathering from various sources across years, and where you access
them with a simple identifier.
Maybe you have already used a tagged data file format, or a
hierarchical data file format, and you regretted that the data were
so opaque, and that picking any piece of data required a specific
Maybe you have already used a XML-based data file format, and you
have regretted that it was not generic enough, or that it was such a
complex XML that it still required specific programs to use.
Satimage-software introduces a new XML-based data file format: XNF.
The principle of XNF is to store whenever possible the data in their
native form, as the original file, for instance you include any
binary file as your FORTRAN or C program makes it, and to store the
metadata separately as XML.
XNF takes advantage of the "bundle" file type in MacOS, and stores
the binary files and the XML metadata separately.
Furthermore the DTD (the XML format for the XNF file) was designed so
that you experience the exact level of complexity you require - never
A short example, the scales of an axis may be specified explicitly in
the XML: <axis>1 2 3</axis>, or by reference as data to be found in
some file at some offset, using some encoding, <axis
href="foobar.dat" offset=160001 type=integer8 endian=big count=3>. In
the simplest cases you can use the XML "manually", while for
automating some process you would use the XML library.
In short, XNF is still another initiative by Satimage-software to
make the work of a scientist on a Mac easier, more comfortable, and