10.1 Overview

CFITSIO supports an extended syntax when specifying the name of the data file to be opened or created that includes the following features:

The latter 3 table filtering features in particular add very powerful data processing capabilities directly into CFITSIO, and hence into every task that uses CFITSIO to read or write FITS files. For example, these features transform a very simple program that just copies an input FITS file to a new output file (like the `fitscopy' program that is distributed with CFITSIO) into a multipurpose FITS file processing tool. By appending fairly simple qualifiers onto the name of the input FITS file, the user can perform quite complex table editing operations (e.g., create new columns, or filter out rows in a table) or create FITS images by binning or histogramming the values in table columns. In addition, these functions have been coded using new state-of-the art algorithms that are, in some cases, 10 - 100 times faster than previous widely used implementations.

Before describing the complete syntax for the extended FITS file names in the next section, here are a few examples of FITS file names that give a quick overview of the allowed syntax:

The full extended CFITSIO FITS file name can contain several different components depending on the context. These components are described in the following sections:

When creating a new file:

When opening an existing primary array or image HDU:

When opening an existing table HDU:
The filetype, BaseFilename, outName, HDUlocation, ImageSection, and pixFilter components, if present, must be given in that order, but the colFilter, rowFilter, and binSpec specifiers may follow in any order. Regardless of the order, however, the colFilter specifier, if present, will be processed first by CFITSIO, followed by the rowFilter specifier, and finally by the binSpec specifier.

Multiple colFilter or rowFilter specifications may appear as separated bracketed expressions, in any order. Multiple colFilter or rowFilter expressions are treated internally as a single effective expression, with order of operations determined from left to right. CFITSIO does not support the @filename.txt complex syntax option if multiple expressions are also used.