March 21, 2007

New open-source XMP library from Adobe

Good news for metadata-minded developers: Adobe has posted a new update (v4.1) of its XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform)
technology for manipulating
metadata. The source code has been released under
the same open source license as its previous versions.  According to the press release, the update

…significantly extends Adobe’s past XMP offerings by providing new libraries for developers to read, write and update XMP in popular image, document and video file formats including JPEG, PSD, TIFF, AVI, WAV, MPEG, MP3, MOV, INDD, PS, EPS and PNG…

The XMP Core enables the parsing, manipulating and serializing of XMP data, and the XMP Files enables the reading, rewriting, and injecting serialized XMP into the multiple file formats. The XMP Files can be thought of as a "file I/O" component for reading and writing the metadata that is manipulated by the XMP Core component.

We’ve seen good uptake of XMP in the developer community (e.g. Apple calls it "industry standard"; Microsoft calls it "the foundation for our ‘truth is in the file’ goal"), and hopefully the new library will help the momentum continue.  In particular XMP is supported in the DNG format, paving the way to standardized raw files that function as rich packages (embedding multiple sets of editing instructions & multiple rendered previews).

Posted by John Nack at 8:52 PM on March 21, 2007


  • Howard Gebeaux — 5:18 AM on March 22, 2007

    I’m not well versed in the technical side of all this, but when I read that something has been updated, that tells me that the former version will quickly be gone and no longer work. So, it tells me that the assertion that DNG is the salvation of the future isn’t going to be quite true, as there will be updates, and more updates.
    [Wait–you’re saying that because something will continue to evolve and grow, it’s dead & useless? Updating something in the future in no way compromises files written to an earlier spec. –J.]
    Backward compatibility has been shown to be a myth.
    [ ? –J.]
    Seems the same is in the future for anything that claims today it will protect us in the future. And the wheel continues to turn.
    [I don’t know what you’re talking about. –J.]

  • German Bauer — 7:51 AM on March 22, 2007

    Any chance that there will ever be an Actionscript 3 API for this? With Apollo taking off (no pun intended) the vision of a web/desktop/connected version of Bridge/Photoshop is not so far…imagine all the goodness Flex and Flash developers could do with that API…
    [I’ll ping Mike Downey for info. –J.]

  • Em — 8:16 PM on March 22, 2007

    Java API support for XMPCore but not XMPFiles?
    Do you know anything about this?
    [I don’t, but I’ll ask. –J.]

  • Barry Pearson — 8:06 AM on March 23, 2007

    This is for Howard Gebeaux: DNG is designed to evolve, and has a version scheme that enables the DNG specification itself, DNG readers, and DNG writers, to evolve at their own paces.
    Previous versions of DNG continue to remain valid. For example, although the 2nd version was published over 2 years ago, the 1st version is still accepted, and indeed still used by some cameras.

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