Meta format for Archive and compression formats

Meta format for archive-and-compression formats


The actual files in archive-and-compression formats are compressed with pretty much established algorithms: What remains is the meta data. By using a standardized Data exchange format (like json) for the meta data, it becomes almost trivial to create you own archive-and-compression format.

Of course the other archive-and-compression formats (List_of_archive_formats) have custom formats that most likely use less space for the meta data. But today, the actual data is so big (images, videos ...) that the size of the meta-data becomes negligibly small.

Format description

Name Offset (bytes) Size (bytes) Description
strID 0 4 String to identify the file type (In my implementation: "mZip")
intVersion 4 2 Version number
intSerializationFormat 6 1 Serialization method of objMeta (0=json ...)
intSize 7 8 Archive size (total including headers and footers) (set to 0 if the size is unknown)
File 0 15
File 1
objMeta iMeta (archive size)-iMeta-8 Serialized object of all the meta data of the files
iMeta (archive size)-8 8 objMeta start position
The binary fields (intVersion, intSize and iMeta) are big endian (My view on Big or little endian).

intSerializationFormat (How is objMeta serialized )

Several other Data exchange formats exist.

Using a binary format would allow for storing for example thumbnails.

Standard fields of objMeta

Exactly how objMeta should look is really a question of its own.

The structure that I use in my implementation (link below):

  IStart:[14, 564],                 // Pointers to the files.
  StrName:["oak.txt", "oak.jpg"],   // File names
  IntCompMethod:[1, 0],             // Compression method (like zip, see more below)
  IntTMod:[1474476071, 1474476071], // Last modification times (in unix time)
  IntSize:[2010, 4043],             // File sizes (uncompressed)
  IntCompSize:[550, 4043],          // File sizes (compressed)
  StrSha1:["fb4a947efc3d959858e32ee856b4011a7e01e4f6", "ff45ba2084497bc0cdf49dc0aac52816f3c48143"] // Sha1 hash codes 
Other fields that one might want use:


(like in the zip-format)

My implementation (mZipper)