hdf5-cffi is a CFFI wrapper for the HDF5 library.

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Gerd Heber <gheber@hdfgroup.org>



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hdf5-cffi is a CFFI wrapper for the HDF5 library. It does not provide a LISPy (= pretty) interface to HDF5. All it lets you do is to use HDF5 from Common LISP as you would from C. Not a pleasant sight, but hey, LISP is the programmable programming language (John Foderaro) and your imagination is the limit. If you'd like to see Common LISP and HDF5 in action, have a look at Gary Hollis' cl-ana package, which was also the main inspiration for this package.

Bindings for FORTRAN, arguably the oldest high-level programming language, were introduced in HDF5 1.4.0, which was released about 13 years ago. LISP, "the greatest single programming language ever designed" (Alan Kay), has not gotten the attention it deserves. This is a first step towards rectifying the situation.

Quick Guide

  1. Install the required libs: libhdf5 and libsz.
    • MacOS: brew tap homebrew/science ; brew install hdf5
    • Ubuntu: apt install libhdf5-dev
  2. Install common lisp: The easiest way is using roswell, a general Common Lisp implementation manager.
  3. ros install cffi to install the Common Foreign Function INterface
  4. ros install HDFGroup/hdf5-cffi to install this library
  5. Run the tests.
    • From the REPL, (asdf:test-system :hdf5-cffi)
    • From the shell, ./test.ros


  1. Garry Hollis' cl-ana

Dependencies (2)

  • cffi
  • fiveam

Dependents (0)

    • GitHub
    • Quicklisp