HDF5 documents and links 
Introduction to HDF5 
HDF5 User's Guide 
HDF5 Reference Manual 
HDF5 Application Developer's Guide 

What’s New in HDF5 1.8.0


            HDF5 Release 1.8.0 represents a major update to the HDF5 Library, utilities, and file format.  The HDF5 development team has attempted to provide new capabilities and improve performance while retaining compatibility with previous releases.

            The new features are briefly described below, but first a few words regarding the compatibility solutions.


Compatibility Issues and Solutions

            When new features and optimizations are introduced, as is certainly the case in this release, there is always the risk of creating compatibility problems. These problems can arise either with an application that must be ported to the new release (or cannot be ported, for any of a number of reasons), with applications based on a prior release that must read files created by the new release, or with files created by an older release that must work with an application based on the new release. The HDF5 team has made a concerted effort to provide a full range of compatibility solutions, hopefully addressing all of the situations a user or application is likely to encounter.


Interface — Backward and Forward API Compatibility:

This release contains many new features and related API routines, but at the same time attempts to provide stability for applications by continuing to make existing API routines available and by operating in a backwardly compatible manner, whenever possible.

            API Compatibility Macros in HDF5 discusses the specifics of API compatibility and configuration options with respect to new features.


Format — Backward and Forward Format Compatibility:

The HDF5 Library Release 1.8.0 reads all existing HDF5 files, from this or any prior release.  Although this release contains features that require additions and/or changes to the HDF5 file format, by default this release will write out files that conform to a “maximum compatibility” principle.  That is, files are written with the earliest version of the file format that describes the information, rather than always using the latest version possible.  This provides the best forward compatibility by allowing the maximum number of older versions of the library to read files produced with this release.

            If library features are used that require new file format features, or if the application requests that the library write out only the latest version of the file format, the files produced with this version of the library may not be readable by older versions of the HDF5 library.

            New Features in HDF5 Release 1.8.0 and Backward/Forward Format Compatibility Issues discusses the new features in the release from the point of view of their impact on format comaptibility.


New Features

            New features are briefly described in this section. Further, instructional example codes for several of these features are provided here:

While all new APIs are documented in the HDF5 Reference Manual, there has not been time yet to describe all of them in the HDF5 User’s Guide.

Object Format Control

Groups and Links

Attribute and Meta Data Enhancements

Improved Object Handling

Datatype Features

Enhancements in the I/O Pipeline

High-level Interfaces and Fortran and C++ Wrappers

New and Improved Tools

Miscellaneous Features

HDF5 documents and links 
Introduction to HDF5 
HDF5 User's Guide 
HDF5 Reference Manual 
HDF5 Application Developer's Guide 

The HDF Group Help Desk:
Describes HDF5 Release 1.8.0, February 2008.
Last modified: 8 May 2008