Provided by: libgetdata-tools_0.7.3-6_i386
dirfile — a filesystem based database format for time-ordered binary
The dirfile database format is designed to provide a fast, simple
format for storing and reading binary time-ordered data. Dirfiles can
be read using the GetData library.
The dirfile database is centred around one or more time-ordered data
streams (a time stream). Each time stream is written to disk in a
separate file, in its native binary format. The name of these binary
files correspond to the time stream's field name. Two time streams may
have different constant sampling frequencies and mechanisms exist
within the dirfile format to ensure these time streams remain properly
sequenced in time.
To do this, the time streams in the dirfile are subdivided into frames.
Each frame contains an integer number of samples of each time stream.
When synchronous retrieval of data from more than one time stream is
required, position in the dirfile can be specified in frames, which
will ensure synchronicity.
The binary files are all located in a central directory, known as the
dirfile directory. The dirfile as a whole may be referred to by its
dirfile directory path.
Included in the dirfile along with the time streams is the dirfile
format specification, which is an ASCII text file called format located
in the dirfile directory. This file fully specifies the dirfile's
metadata. For the syntax of this file, see dirfile-format(5).
Version 3 of the Dirfile Standards introduced the large dirfile
extension. This extension added the ability to distribute the dirfile
metadata among multiple files (called fragments) in addition to the
format file, as well as the ability to house portions of the database
in subdirfiles. These subdirfiles may be fully fledged dirfiles in
their own right, but may also be contained within a larger, parent
dirfile. See dirfile-format(5) for information on specifying these
In addition to the raw fields on disk, the dirfile format specification
may also specify derived fields which are calculated from one or more
raw or derived time streams. Derived fields behave identically to raw
fields when read via GetData. See dirfile-format(5) for a complete
list of derived field types. Dirfiles may also contain both numerical
and character string constant scalar fields, also further outlined in
Dirfiles are designed to be written to and read simultaneously. The
dirfile specification dictates that one particular raw field (specified
either explicitly or implicitly by the format specification) is to be
used as the reference field: all other vector fields are assumed to
have at least as many frames as the reference field has, and the size
(in frames) of the reference field is used as the size of the dirfile
as a whole.
Version 6 of the Dirfile Standards added the ability to encode the
binary files on disk. Each fragment may have its own encoding scheme.
Notably this can be used to compress these files. See
dirfile-encoding(5) for information on encoding schemes.
Complex Number Storage Format
Version 7 of the Dirfile Standards added support for complex valued
data. Two types of complex valued data are supported by the Dirfile
· A 64-bit complex number consisting of a IEEE-754 standard 32-bit
single precision floating point real part and a IEEE-754 standard
32-bit single precision floating point imaginary part, and
· A 128-bit complex number consisting of a IEEE-754 standard 64-bit
double precision floating point real part and a IEEE-754 standard
64-bit double precision floating point imaginary part.
No integer-type complex numbers are supported.
Unencoded complex numbers are stored on disk in "Fortran order", that
is with the IEEE-754 real part followed by the IEEE-754 imaginary part.
The specified endianness of the two components follows that of purely
real floating point numbers. Endianness does not affect the ordering
of the real and imaginary parts. This format also conforms to the C99
standard. The latest C++ standard (C++98) does not specify a standard
storage format for native complex numbers, but the upcoming standard,
(C++0x) is intended to specify the above format for compatibility with
C99 (see: ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22/WG21/N1388).
To aid in using complex valued data, dirfile field codes may contain a
representation suffix which specifies a norm to apply to the complex
valued data to convert it into purely real data. See
The dirfile specification was developed by C. B. Netterfield
The dirfile specification is now maintained by D. V. Wiebe