Hi Milan and John,
Perhaps I can usefully contribute here.
We did originally have a checksum for each of the main sections of BUFR,
but the justification was mainly to do with unreliable bit orientated
telecoms, and limits on block sizes. We addressed those by saying that
the telecoms protocol should handle them. We wanted a clean, orthogonal
separation of transport protocol and content.
We never considered correcting errors between tables, messages and
applications. We didn't even envisage more than one Master Table -
multiple master tables were a bit of an afterthought, to accommodate the
oceanographers. We never really thought through in detail how things
would be administered. It was left as a trivial exercise for the
From the outside, I can see you all adding bits here and there to fix
things. I would say Bufr is now in its 'baroque' or 'rococo' phase, and
I would recommend some serious
pruning/deprecation/simplification/re-factoring to get back to a more
'classical' structure, perhaps a 'BUFR- lite'. I think complexity, even
if it is necessary, seems to be a barrier to wider take up of BUFR. I
think the success of NetCDF and HDF came from simplicity and elegance
first (and supplied software and APIs), and then complexity came after
it had been taken up and the community recognised that the extras were
I hope you can come up with a straightforward table maintenance process.
Best wishes, Chris
Chris Little International Telecommunications
Met Office FitzRoy Road Exeter Devon EX1 3PB United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)1392 886278 Fax: +44(0)1392 885681 Mobile: +44(0)7753
Met Office climate change predictions can be viewed on Google Earth
[mailto:bufrtables-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John Caron
Sent: 18 August 2008 23:21
Subject: Re: [bufrtables] More on table versions
Thanks for your thoughts on this. One of the interesting questions is
whether software can automatically detect if the wrong table is being
used to decode. When the bit widths are wrong, the answer is usually
yes, since one can "count bits" and compare to the data section length.
However, if scale/offset/units is wrong, then one must actually
understand the data in order to detect problems, and even then it way
not get detected.
Something that perhaps you have thought of before is to embed something
like an MD5 checksum into the BUFR message, to be compared against the
MD5 of the master table stored at the WMO. Obviously a lot of trouble,
and even then not foolproof, but perhaps worth considering, especially
for archived data.
Milan Dragosavac wrote:
I believe you might find almost any master table version number in the
data. In practice in the section 1 you will find local version numbers
use as well although the local entries are not really used. In any
case you can always first try making link to version 13 and find out
how it goes. I am sure it will work in almost all cases. I will try to
address this problem at WMO ET/DRC Meetings.
Shinfield Park, Reading, Berkshire, RG2 9AX, UK
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