3.1 What is netCDF, really?
In the real world, things are more complicated.
NetCDF evolves to keep up with needs of its users, and is actually:
- Two data models
- Classic model (for netCDF-1, netCDF-2, netCDF-3)
- Enhanced model (for netCDF-4)
- Four file formats
- Classic format and 64-bit offset format variant
- NetCDF-4 format and netCDF-4 classic model format variant
- Two independent flavors of application programming interfaces (APIs)
- C-based (C, Fortran-90, Fortran-77, C++, Python, Perl, Ruby, Matlab, ...)
You mostly don't need to be aware of these complications,
because new versions of netCDF software support
- all previous netCDF data models
- all previous netCDF formats and their variants
- all previous APIs
Also, files written with any language API are readable through other language APIs.