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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Interchange File Format
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file format (IFF, full name "EA IFF 1985") A generic file
format published by Electronic Arts as an open standard.
IFF is chunk-based and hierarchical so files can include
other files. It is easily extensible and an all round Good
An IFF file starts with one of the following "group IDs":
'FORM', 'LIST' or 'CAT '. This is followed by an unsigned
32-bit number of bytes in the remainder of the file. Then
comes an ID that indicates which type of IFF file this is.
The main image type is ILBM, audio is either AIFF or
8SVX, animations are ANIM etc. An IFF file will probably
have a filename extension related to this file type stored
in the file. The rest of the file is divided into chunks
each of which also has a four-byte header and byte count.
Microsoft WAV and AVI are all based around an almost
identical scheme to IFF called RIFF. The main difference is
that, in RIFF files, numbers are little-endian as on Intel
processors, whereas in IFF files they are big-endian, as on
the Motorola 68000 processors in the Amiga where IFF files
were first used.