Customers should be able to move their own data between independently developed software products. And they should be able to buy data libraries usable across many such products. The types of data objects to exchange are open-ended and include plain and formatted text, raster and structured graphics, fonts, music, sound effects, musical instrument descriptions, and animation. The problem with expedient file formats - typically memory dumps is that they're too provincial. By designing data for one particular use (such as a screen snapshot), they preclude future expansion (would you like a full page picture? a multi-page document?). In neglecting the possibility that other programs might read their data, they fail to save contextual information (how many bit planes? what resolution?). Ignoring that other programs might create such files, they're intolerant of extra data (a different picture editor may want to save a texture palette with the image), missing data (such as no color map), or minor variations (perhaps a smaller image). In practice, a filed representation should rarely mirror an in-memory representation. The former should be designed for longevity; the latter to optimize the manipulations of a particular program. The same filed data will be read into different memory formats by different programs. The IFF philosophy: "A little behind-the-scenes conversion when programs read and write files is far better than NxM explicit conversion utilities for highly specialized formats". So we need some standardization for data interchange among development tools and products. The more developers that adopt a standard, the better for all of us and our customers.
[Back to Amiga Developer Docs]