2006.04.04 16:50 "[Tiff] BigTIFF Suggestion", by Larry Michaels

2006.04.05 02:22 "Re: [Tiff] BigTIFF Suggestion", by Joris Van Damme


Playing devil's advocate for a moment, it is worth pointing out that multi-frame TIFFs are a convenient way to build big TIFFs and that one of the strengths of BigTIFF is that it can handle huge files. Perhaps some additional adaptations to the TIFF format may make it more useful for huge files. If so, they should be considered now before there is an implementation in use.

Devil's advocate is my favorite game...

Of course, we would need to respect the basic properties of TIFF. For example, I am much opposed to anything that seems redundant, in the higher level TIFF structures. In fact, I'd like to keep on to the tree hierarchy very strictly...

The single thing that remains, to allow faster access to not just the last but any page, is to, optionally, store 'page/frame groups' or whatever you would call them in the highest level linked list. Such a group would be a very basic IFD, with likely not much more then two tags:

For example, to allow fast and easy access to all of 1000 pages, one could have an upper level linked list of 10 IFDs, that all are 'group' IFDs, and all are the starting point of a second-level linked list of 100 image IFDs.

Going one step further, the scheme could be extended. The group IFDs themselves, may be the start of another linked list of groups... forming a sort-off page hash.

In effect, this would

  1. not break the IFD tree scheme
  2. not contain anything redundant
  3. not contain any data anywhere that transcends its logical scope
  4. allow very fast access to any page

Of course, the number of pages in a group and such, should remain totally up to the writer to decide. Otherwise the need for reordering and such may arise on 'page delete' operations, and that is not desirable. So, stupid writers would still be able to choose the easy way out and write a single list of 10.000 IFDs.

Strictly playing devil's advocate, of course. I do think it is worthwhile to play that game, seriously, because, as you say, BigTIFF is big.

Of course there are other formats which are easier to extend such as MNG, ImageMagick's MIFF format (extension via pure concatenation), PDF, and even QuickTime. Those formats are nothing like TIFF.

Voila, my point exactly.

Joris Van Damme
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