HDF5 for Python 0.3.0

Andrew Collette h5py at alfven.org
Sat Aug 16 01:12:24 CEST 2008

Announcing HDF5 for Python (h5py) 0.3.0

HDF5 for Python (h5py) is a general-purpose Python interface to the
Hierarchical Data Format library, version 5.  HDF5 is a versatile,
mature scientific software library designed for the fast, flexible
storage of enormous amounts of data.  The h5py project has been under
informal development for a few months now, and has reached the point
where it might be generally useful to others.

Unlike the fantastic PyTables project, h5py aims to provide access to
the full HDF5 C library, although in a more Pythonic fashion. Almost
all of the HDF5 1.6.X API is covered, with improvements like:

    - object-oriented identifiers with reference counting
    - automatic raising of Python exceptions for HDF5 errors
    - conversion between NumPy and HDF5 datatypes

It also includes a set of high-level, pure-Python classes which
represent basic HDF5 abstractions like files, groups, and datasets,
using native Python and NumPy infrastructure.  For example, datasets
carry a shape tuple and dtype, and support partial I/O via the
standard extended slicing syntax.

The primary focus of the project is read/write interoperability with
existing HDF5 data; using Python and the NumPy package, you can
access data in HDF5 format, process it, and write files that any
HDF5-aware program can understand.

Automatic conversion is provided between NumPy and HDF5 datatypes;
almost all NumPy types can be transparently converted to their HDF5
equivalents.  This includes constructs like complex numbers in
addition to arbitrarily nested compound ("recarray") data types.


Python 2.5 and Numpy >= 1.0.3 are required.  For UNIX, a C compiler
is also required which can build Python extensions.  HDF5 versions
1.6.5, 1.6.7, 1.8.0 and 1.8.1 are supported.  The Windows installer
includes HDF5 1.8.1.

Source installers for UNIX and an integrated installer for Windows
are available from the Google Code development page:

Comprehensive documentation, including installation instructions and
a quick-start guide, is available at:

You can read more about the HDF5 library at the HDF Group web site:

*** This project is NOT affiliated with the HDF Group. ***

All code for this project is released under the BSD license.


Thanks to D. Dale, D. Brooks, E. Lawrence for their comments and
suggestions in development, and the PyTables project for general
inspiration, along with "definitions.pxd". :)

    Andrew Collette
    Mail: "h5py" at the domain "alfven.org"

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