cdf 3.8.0-alpha.3

Common Data Format (CDF) D language prototypes

To use this package, run the following command in your project's root directory:

Manual usage
Put the following dependency into your project's dependences section:


Common Data Format (CDF) library D language bindings

CDF files are the most common data interchange format used in space particles and fields research. Phobos is the standard D library that comes with the D compiler. Deimos is the namespace for D bindings for non-D libraries, notably those which have a C binary call interface.

Creating a D project using deimos.cdf

Initialzation of new D projects is typically handled via the dub program which is the D package manager and build tool. On Linux, dub is installed directly to your $PATH. As usual on Windows the program is much harder to find. If you're using the dmd compiler on Windows the program will be in a path similar to:


The following terminal session illustrates how to initialize a new test program using the CDF library. Commands are the same on Windows, Linux and MacOS.

dub init my_cdf_test
Name [my_cdf_test]: 
Add dependency (leave empty to skip) []: cdf
Adding dependency cdf >=3.8.0-alpha.2 <3.9.0-0
Add dependency (leave empty to skip) []: 

After the project is generated you should have a dub.json file that looks similar to the following.

   "authors": [
      "Your Name"
   "copyright": "Copyright © 2021, Your Name",
   "dependencies": {
      "cdf": ">=3.8.0-alpha.1 <3.9.0-0"
   "description": "CDF Bindings Test",
   "license": "Boost",
   "name": "my_cdf_test"

In order to use this package add the line:

import deimos.cdf;

to the automatically generated app.d file.

On Linux the deimos.cdf package does not supply libcdf.a so you'll have to install the standard CDF binaries on your own. It's easier if you install the CDF libs directly into /usr/local instead of /usr/local/cdf as the sub-directory "cdf" is not automatically searched by the linker. On Windows deimos.cdf caries a copy of libcdf.lib so this step isn't necessary.

After you have installed (if needed) build your project using:

cd my_cdf_test
dub build

Which will autmatically fetch the deimos.cdf package from the dub repository and add it to your project. If you're having trouble linking to dllcdf.dll on wondows, update your %PATH% environment variable to include the location of dllcdf.dll. Or just copy dllcdf.dll and dllcdf.lib into to top of your project directory.

Module Creation Notes

The CDF library makes heavy use of function macros to wrap calls to a lower level function named: CDFLib(). In the spirit (for good or for ill) of the old Motif libraries this is a var-args function with custom integer type specifiers. The net effect of function macros paired with a var-args uber function is type erasure. This is unfortunate as code using the CDF libray must provide proper C data types or else calls to CDFLib will fail horribly. The proper data types are not documented in the header but rather in the C Reference manual.

To build the D prototypes, Appendix B of the above manual was used in in conjunction with the supplied C header files cdf.h, and to a much lesser extent, cdfdist.h.

  1. Invoke dstep on the included cdf.h header

  2. Convert the cdf380crm.pdf to Markdown. This was handled via a tool provided at

  3. All D templates that invoke functions with proper type information were left as is.

  4. All templates that call CDFLib() were converted to actual D functions so that type information is available to creators of higher level modules.

The first iteration of this process was handled manually. For future updates an automatic converter shoud be written using the experience gained from converting version 3.8.

  • Chris Piker
System dependencies:
3.8.0-alpha.3 2021-Mar-25
3.8.0-alpha.2 2021-Mar-25
3.8.0-alpha.1 2021-Mar-24
~main 2021-May-14
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