2007.07.01 17:12 "[Tiff] Re: BigTIFF extension issue", by Bob Friesenhahn

2007.07.02 09:08 "Re: [Tiff] Re: BigTIFF extension issue", by Andy Cave

Hi Bob,

I think people do care, or should. Opening files is not a fast process (especially across a network), so opening more files than necessary is just a waste of time. If you have an application that points at an arbitary folder/directory, then depending on platform, opening all files found in that directory could also cause problems if other apps try and open the same files (exclusively).

In our product FirstPROOF, we used to insist on TIFF files being named as either ".TIF" or ".TIFF". Recently we had to change that and allow the user to configure this (defaulting to ".TIFF"). That's 'cause some products were using ".RIP" instead of ".TIF[F]" - the simple reason being to stop Windows/MacOS from producing a downsample of the file and taking _ages_ to do so ('cause we deal with very large files - 40" x 40" at 3048 dpi or larger). So applications need to be flexible in allowing different extensions, but should have a defined extension.

For big tiff, I think it should be ".TIF" or ".TIFF", for the reasons I posted before - try explaining what ".BTF" or ".TF2" means to non-technical customers / users (and there are a LOT of them around).

In fact if I didn't mention it then, I think there are more arguments to stick with ".TIF[F]" - just take all the other apps which have 'grown' over time, going from version 1 to version 2 to version 3 to etc... none (or very few) of these have changed their extensions. Word docs are still ".DOC", Excel docs are still ".XLS", Photoshop docs are still ".PSD", PDF docs are still ".PDF", Corel docs are still ".CDR", etc... None of these changed, so why on earth would anyone consider doing the same for TIFF.

Whatever I or you or anyone else thinks or does though, people are going to use other extensions. Someone is bound to prefer or use "BTF" or "TF2" (just like Stephen did). In Stephens case, he clearly used "TF2" to distinguish the files for testing/development purposes, with no consideration for the 'users' or 'customers'. Whether we like it or not, this is going to happen and then the use of this is going to stick.

For our products, I plan on defaulting to ".TIFF", but allow our customers to change this should they so want to. The only way I'd change this, would be if the 'rest of the world' used something else, in which case we'd be forced to follow suit. That would happen for example if some 'industry giant' such as Adobe chose a certain extension.



Andy Cave,
Chief Executive Officer,
Hamillroad Software Limited.

Hamillroad Software Limited is a company registered in England, No. 4375636. Whitehall House, Oakington, Cambridge, CB24 3BB. VAT Reg No. GB 758230719.

Way back in 2004 there was a long discussion of what extension to use for BigTIFF (see http://www.asmail.be/msg0055326857.html). Re-reading this discussion, I see a lot of good points, but don't see any obvious conclusion. It seems like a case of allowing the market/users to decide.

I have started to update my application to support BigTIFF. I am happy to support the extension ".tiff" but of course there are other proposals. Initially, it does not seem like anyone will be casually writing BigTIFF files since Classic TIFF (TM) provides assured coverage to at least 2GB file sizes (and often 4GB) and users of large files know who they are and will explicitly decide to use BigTIFF. This means that it will take time before BigTIFF files are encountered in "the wild".

Given the state of the computing universe, does anyone care about three character file extensions any more? Are there systems still in use (reasonably expected to encounter a BigTIFF file) which make their format decisions based on a three character extension, or is this behavior now effectively extinct?