Alpha testers needed

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Well we missed our deadline by a couple of weeks, but I just put up
a copy of HDF 3.3 Alpha 3 on the NCSA ftp server (
in HDF/HDF3.3-ALPHA/hdf33-alpha3.tar.Z  This version of HDF 
integrates the hdf / netCDF prototype software with a new 
'multi-file' SDS interface.  In this alpha release, this 
code is still a separate library.

The multi-file SDS interface and the HDF-based netCDF interface can 
transparently read and modify files created by the other.  In 
addition, both interfaces can read XDR-based netCDF files and 
'old-style' SDS files.

The following chart represents what can be done with the various
interfaces available in HDF3.3a3:

                old SDS-API     new SDS-API     netCDF-API

old SDS         CRW             R               R   
HDF files

old netCDF      -               RW              RW
XDR files       

new netCDF      -               CRW             CRW
HDF files

new SDS         -               CRW             CRW
HDF files

'R' means read, 'W' means write and 'C' means create.  Entries
with dashes '-' represent functionality which has not yet been

This integration has already produced many practical benefits.  
For example, I have been using netCDF tools (i.e. ncdump) to 
debug HDF files.  About 20 minutes of modifications have produced
a version of NCSA Collage which can read files created by netCDF 

As the name implies, this is an Alpha release of the software.
If you would like to see modifications in routines or the 
additions of new ones please let me know.  I have tested this
on Sun4s, IBM/RS6000s and SGIs.

There are still a number of issues being worked on (a Fortran
interface for the multi-file code, using 'strides' for reading
and writing of data, etc...).  But we felt it was a good idea
to get the code out so people could start banging on it.

If you use this software, please send all bug reports and 
suggestions directly back to me.

-Chris Houck
HDF Group
NCSA Software Development Group

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