[AstroPy] functional interface for PyFITS?

Peter Erwin erwin at iac.es
Mon Mar 21 15:23:32 CST 2005

>Vicki Laidler has persuaded me that PyFITS should have a more 
>functional interface as well as it's more object-oriented current 
>interface. The gist of the argument is that many astronomers would 
>like a simple call to get data or a header and not mess with 
>opening, then digging down in the object structure to get at the 
>data. I find that hard to argue with. Here are some proposed 
>getdata(filename, [ext, extname, extver, etc])
>getheader(filename, [ext, extname, extver, etc])
>getdataheader( [ext, extname, extver, etc]) # returns the data and 
>header as a tuple
>    # i.e., im, hdr = pyfits.getdataheader('mydata.fits')
>    # Shorter name better? getdatahdr? getdh?


I think this is an excellent idea!

As for "getdataheader":
I'd avoid making the name *too* short and cryptic ("getdh" is too short); one
of the nice things about Python is that if you want to avoid typing too much,
you can define your own shorthand names, e.g.:

>>>  gdh = pyfits.getdataheader
and then:
>>>  im, hdr = gdh('mydata.fits')

(Stick it in your PYTHONSTARTUP file if you think you'll be using it a lot.)

>Comments? Any missing functions?

It might be nice to have direct functional access to header values; something
along the lines of

>>>  getheadervalue(filename, keyword, ...)  # returns header value as a string

(There are often times when that's all I want out of a FITS file.)

    -- Peter
Peter Erwin                   Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias
erwin at iac.es                  C/ Via Lactea s/n
tel. +34 922 605 238          38200 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
fax  +34 922 605 210          http://www.iac.es/galeria/erwin

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