CCfits, a class library that gives access to the widely used cfitsio library for FITS I/O, was written as part of the XSPEC12 project. It is now in use in a number of locations around the world, and its user base has been gaining since its initial
release in the Summer of 2001. Work is currently continuing to complete a port of CCfits to Windows.
CCfits makes it possible to read a FITS file into a C++ object with similar layout to the disk file itself. Access to column data and images is performed using an interface designed to be intuitive to the user familiar with the
The CCfits implementation is an example of the use of generic programmic techniques, with objects containing different data types being processed similarly.
CCfits was written to allow XSPEC to read FITS tables in multiple formats without doing anything except changing a set of strings representing the header-data units (HDUs) to be read together with their keyword and column names.
It is thus an instance of encapsulation and loose coupling which has been a spin-off product of use to the rest of the astronomical community. On the other hand, the code written to write FITS files is necessarily not as well