[AstroPy] A quick survey of PyFITS users

Erik Bray embray at stsci.edu
Thu May 26 10:07:49 EDT 2011

Thanks Tom,

Regarding documentation, I've been working on sphinx versions of the 
users guide (the Handbook) and the the API docs.  It still needs some 
work, but it's mostly usable :)

I have the latest version of the docs uploaded at 
http://packages.python.org/pyfits/, which will be kept up to date.  It 
will also be hosted a the URL you pointed out, but I don't know how to 
put anything on that web server yet.  (Worth mentioning also is that 
pyfits itself can be downloaded from PyPI now: 

In the future I can try to make these docs easier to find.  And I agree, 
it would be good to add the release date to the docs.


On 05/26/2011 08:54 AM, Tom Aldcroft wrote:
> Hi Erik,
> Congratulations on the new 3.0 release and the Python 3 compatibility!
>   This is good news for PyFITS users and the Python community.  I just
> have some documentation requests:
> - Could you put a link to the API docs on the main page or somewhere
> obvious?  I never even knew they existed online until I just googled
> "pyfits api".
> - The current online API docs refer to version 2.2.2, not 2.4.0.
> Since this is a widely used package, it might be worth the effort to
> host API docs for all releases, e.g.
> http://stsdas.stsci.edu/stsci_python_epydoc/pyfits/2.4.0/index.html.
> - Could you put a version number in the PyFITS Handbook in addition to
> a release date?
> - Is there any chance of making an online HTML version of the PyFITS
> Handbook instead of only PDF?  For me, HTML would be much easier to
> use and I wouldn't end up with 10 copies of the manual sitting in my
> downloads directory.
> Thanks,
> Tom
> On Wed, May 25, 2011 at 7:11 PM, Erik Bray<embray at stsci.edu>  wrote:
>> Dear AstroPy community,
>>      Obviously, if you're not a PyFITS user you can skip this :)  As
>> some of you know I've been working on the next version of PyFITS, which
>> will hopefully be released within the next couple months.  I've called
>> it version 3.0 for two primary reasons:  It's the first version to
>> support Python 3, and it contains a pretty large overhaul to the source
>> code.
>>      Despite the large changes, I've tried, at least for this release,
>> to maintain as much backwards-compatibility as possible with the last
>> release (2.4.0).  So most users hopefully shouldn't even notice much of
>> a difference.  I've already had a handful of unofficial beta-testers.
>> They've been very helpful in helping me squash some bugs, but haven't
>> otherwise pointed out any serious API incompatibilities.
>>      However, there are some large changes to the 'private' API
>> (anything prefixed with an underscore), as well as to a few nominally
>> 'public' methods, but that aren't of much use to most users.  In
>> addition, there are a few interfaces that are still supported, but that
>> I would like to deprecate.
>>      So I just wanted to try to get a sense of what interfaces users are
>> actually using, and if anybody is likely to experience significant
>> difficulties with this new version.  Here are my questions:
>> 1) Are you using any 'private' variables, classes, functions, etc. from
>> PyFITS?  That is, is your code using anything imported from pyfits that
>> begins with an underscore?
>> 2) Do you use the classExtensions feature at all?
>> 3) Do you have any custom subclasses of any classes in pyfits?
>> 4) Do you use the _ValidHDU.req_cards() method or the Card.fromstring()
>> method at all?
>> 5) Are there any other odd PyFITS interfaces you directly access that
>> are not documented in the PyFITS Users' Manual?
>> I hope to deal with as many problems as I can now, so as to not get
>> inundated with "bug" reports once users switch to this new version.  Of
>> course, not everybody who uses PyFITS is on this mailing list, and that
>> will probably happen anyways.  But any information I can gather to
>> mitigate that will be greatly helpful.
>> Thanks,
>> Erik
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