Re: [netcdf-java] [thredds] GRIB variable name changes in 4.3

Hi Cathy:

On 2/27/2012 4:36 PM, Cathy Smith wrote:
I believe users read from netCDF vs grib files both because reading from
grib is not easy and because netCDF provides
metadata that is human readable. Changing variable names to
VAR__.... is not human readable. Users doing a ncdump would be
forced to read through non-standard metadata attributes to see what the variable
was (or refer to grib tables which would be different
for grib1 vs grib2).

A human readable name will be in the standard attribute "long_name" for each variable. Also, the NCEP "short name" is now also in the variable attributes when its available.

These grib tables wouldn't necessarily be handy to
most users. Users who have scripts now to get data
would have to change their scripts in a way that isn't straightforward
and also (to me) seems more subject to typos and similar errors.

Yes, scripts will have to be changed (once).

While I see that for some developers, the change might make things
easier, it would not be for all developers and it certainly would not
for most scientists and researchers using TDS files directly. They don't
have the time or patience to have to look these things up when they just
want to know about the contents of a file quickly, which IS possible now via 

Really, this isnt about who is convenienced. Its about very deep design differences between GRIB and netCDF that make this a hard, perhaps impossible, thing to do well. The current scheme doesnt work, and about 20% of NCEP/IDD names are simply wrong, and an unknown percentage of non-NCEP names are wrong. So some things must break. Following the advice to never waste a really bad crisis, the thinking is to break them all, but only once.


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