Simpler is simply simpler and better
Data set file formats are a real running gag in the context of scientific visualization. Often the file formats are rather useless and there often are no established standards. Most of the time ASCII-text files greet you as the results for simulations. These are large, bulky and a pain to parse.
With MegaMol™ we tries to tackle this problem several times, with limited success I have to say. We nicely extended the list of file formats we need to be able to load due to our project partners with a whole bunch of file formats of our own. These, however, have proven themselves to be similar useless in the long run. This year the need for a solution to efficiently load larger data (not yet big data) arose, once again. The best way we found was the MMPLD file format. It basically is a binary memory dump of the simplest data structure MegaMol has to offer.
What can I say? It works. Of course this is no solution with sustainability or scalability. The huge number of failed attempts to create a good file format raises the questions if such a file format can be defined at all. I don’t want to abandon hope. We—CGV-TUD, VISUS, HLRS, ThEt-PB, SCCS TUM, and TLD-KL—at least agreed that we all have this problem, and that we all are interested in a solution. We will see…