Container Or Wrapper Format: How The 1985 Interchange File Format Works

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The 1985 Interchange File Format is a data format that works as a container or wrapper for data. It is commonly used to store and transport data. The format uses a specific binary structure to encode data in a consistent and easy to use way.

This article will go through the characteristics and basic components of the Interchange File Format, and will explain how it works.

What is a container

Overview of the 1985 Interchange File Format

The 1985 Interchange File Format (also known as IFF85 or IFF) is a system used to store and exchange information in a container or wrapper format. It was developed by Electronic Arts in 1984 as an open standard file format for cross-platform storage and communication of data between computers.

IFF85 is owned by Electronic Arts, but it is widely used and supported by many software vendors. The primary purpose of the IFF85 protocol is to transfer binary data between different types of computer systems so that it can be stored or manipulated in various formats, including text, numbers, graphics and sound.

IFF85 supports up to 32-bit binary values as well as an ASCII string representation of each value. The format also supports object hierarchy that allows for data within containers to be further refined and indexed into categories such as color indexing, selective coloring and composite rendering. In addition to this ability, IFF85 also provides the ability to attach comments along with data for attribution purposes.


The architecture of the IFF85 protocol allows it to be used for other purposes such as streaming media or delivering software where parts are sent separately over a network connection instead of all at once via a single file transfer mechanism. This could help reduce the time needed to download large software programs or media files should they need only portions of what’s provided divided into smaller segments that can be sent more quickly over multiple connections at once rather than waiting until the end for all components over one single connection before bringing everything together from start-to-finish in one download process cycle.

Container Format

The Container Format, often abbreviated as “CFF”, is the underlying data structure of the Interchange File Format. This format provides a framework for encoding and decoding complex file systems into and out of a single binary format. The Container Format works as a wrapper for encapsulating data elements and their associated attributes within a single compound data structure.

Let’s explore how this format functions so you can better understand the capabilities of the 1985 Interchange File Format.

What is a Container Format?

A container format is a collection of rules that describes how a file should be organized. It also specifies how data should be encoded and how software applications can interact with the file. It was initially introduced in 1985, as the Interchange File Format (IFF).

The idea behind using this format is that it allows different software applications to read different parts of a file, even if they weren’t designed to read those particular formats. This makes it easier to convert files from one format to another without losing any of the content.

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A container format typically consists of two main components: an envelope and its contents. The envelope contains critical information about the type of data contained in the file and includes things such as compression algorithms, encryption algorithms, and playback specifications for media files like audio or video.

Both elements are stored within sections known as chunks, which are like containers within containers – each chunk having its own envelope containing information about what’s contained inside it. Some common chunks found in IFF files include RIFF (resources), LIST (lists), PROP (properties), and CAT (catalogs). These chunks can be arranged hierarchically to form an IFF tree structure that defines bits of reference information associated with each chunk.

Once the contents and envelope are defined by the IFF tree structure, software programs can use them to interpret the data in a consistent way regardless of what application created it. This lets you create complex documents such as multimedia albums or databases without worrying about broken compatibility between different programs such as text editors or media players.

Advantages of a Container Format

The Container format, also known as IFF85 or Interchange File Format, is an open standard for exchange and storage of data in digital files. It was developed for use on personal computers, but it is now found in many different platforms ranging from industrial controllers to web-based applications. The main advantages of using this format are the consistent data structures and the ability to store multiple types of information in one place.

IFF85 is a hierarchical file format that allows various applications to share and exchange various kinds of data. The advantage of this hierarchical structure is that it helps ensure consistency between applications, making information readily understandable regardless of which application generated it or with which application it will be used. Additionally, IFF85 provides applications with the capability to store multiple kinds of data within the same file—including text strings, binary numbers (for numerical values), sound signals (for audio) and more. This makes it easier for users to manipulate different types of data within the same application or interchange between different software programs that are designed for different tasks or platforms.

Other benefits associated with IFF85 include:

  • A high degree of reliability since all information remains intact during transmission.
  • Compatibility with other storage formats.
  • Attachment capability allowing users to add documents such as images and drawings.
  • Version stamping allowing users to control revisions.
  • Reliable recovery from interruption.
  • Support for creation/modification dates.
  • Security features allowing users to password protect exchanged files.
  • Run-length encoding reducing the amount of space required for storing sequence-intensive data such as video frames or audio infrequent words.
  • Variable speed playback increasing replay accuracy by adjusting signal output accordingly.
  • Improved sound fidelity when transmitting large amounts of correlated speech parameters at once, plus many more advantages not possible with other formats.

Wrapper Format

Wrapper format is a type of Container Format that was introduced in 1985. It was developed for the Interchange File Format (IFF) as a way to store multiple types of data within a single file. By wrapping data into a single wrapper file, it makes it easier for computers to read and share the data.

In this article, we will discuss the basics of wrapper format and how it works.

What is a Wrapper Format?

A container or wrapper format is a file format, often based on existing standards, that contains one or more different kinds of data in a single, self-contained file. Examples include spreadsheet files that contain both the data and the program code, bitmap images with text embedded in them and sound files with text annotation.

One example of a wrapper format is the 1985 Interchange File Format (IFF). Developed for use with joysticks on Commodore computers, this “Formatted Interchange File” became widely used for many different types of multimedia applications due to its flexibility and transportability across many different platforms.

The IFF divides each file into chunks that can be read independently from each other. A chunk contains an ID number, size information and actual data stored as either bytes or ASCII characters (or both). Each IFF chunk must contain an ID number to uniquely identify it among related chunks and distinguish it from other component types; there are standard IDs for master pointers (MAST), loop checkers (CKro) and chunk lists (LIST). Each ID identifies an individual type of component within the IFF file system.

IFF files are also used by many audio/video applications because they are able to store multiple types of information in one easily readable/transportable package without needing special programs to decode them – including video game score sheets, 3D modeling formats and digital artwork.

Advantages of a Wrapper Format

Using a wrapper format to store information allows organizations to store data in multiple formats within the same file system without losing any of the contextual properties that would otherwise be lost due to differences in software applications or languages. Data retention, accessibility, and portability are all improved using a wrapper format, making it an attractive choice for exchanging data between systems.

The 1985 Interchange File Format (IFF) is an example of a wrapper format. This type of format uses an envelope-like structure with eight-byte tags that describe each item in the file and define its type. IFF also uses chunky structures (or chunks) for organizing these items in a logical hierarchy.

The advantages of using a wrapper format include:

  • Compatibility across different systems with different operating systems, software applications, and languages;
  • Portability;
  • Flexibility;
  • Better support for multimedia elements such as images, videos, voice recordings and animations;
  • Backward compatibility;
  • Improved organization by using chunk hierarchies;
  • Increased security through encryption methods such as digital signatures and passwords;
  • Compliance with standards such as MIME (Multimedia Internet Mail Extensions) types.

Using a wrapper format to store information allows organizations to get more out of their data by allowing users to quickly find, retrieve and manage their files without lossing any of the contextual properties otherwise lost due to differences in application languages or software versions.


The Interchange File Format (IFF), was released in 1985 and is a standard container or wrapper format used for storing a variety of types of digital data. IFF is a flexible data format that is widely supported by different types of computer systems and applications.

In this article, we will compare IFF to other container formats to better understand how it works.

Advantages of Using a Container Format

A container format such as the 1985 Interchange File Format (IFF) utilizes a method of organizing data into “chunks” that each contains related information. While this is useful for many purposes, one big advantage of using IFF is its ability to facilitate data interchange between applications on different systems and platforms.

When using a container format such as IFF, files are split into chunks and each chunk consists of a header containing the type and length of the chunk. This means that the application does not need to be concerned with the type and size of the data it receives; it only needs to look at the header to know what kind of data is inside. Furthermore, because only parts of the file need loading or transferring over network connections at any given time, IFF facilitates faster file transfers.

It also offers several advantages in regards to data organization, access control and integrity validation:

  • Data organization within an IFF can be easily performed since chunks can be added any place within a file and new fields can easily be appended onto existing ones.
  • Access control can be done by leaving parts of a file unreadable, while integrity validation is made easier through checksums included in headers associated with chunks or entire files for detection of accidental changes or errors due to transmission issues.

Advantages of Using a Wrapper Format

The wrapper format has numerous advantages over the container format, particularly if the application being developed requires multiple files but small volumes of data. One advantage is that the wrapper format requires fewer resources than the container format and is consequently easier to deploy and maintain. Furthermore, the wrapper structure creates a natural organization structure that separates files into logical groups. For example, in a 3-D animation project, related digital models and textures can be logically grouped within one file rather than having to be stored as separate documents.

Another advantage of using a wrapper is that it simplifies segmentation of large files. This allows them to be broken down into smaller chunks for transmission when working with large projects over a network or on slower hardware systems where standard header and footer information can have an impact on processor speeds. Additionally, wrappers are more flexible since you can add or remove data from an existing file without damaging its integrity, allowing you to use the same file for different purposes at different times.

Finally, wrappers are capable of storing multiple types of data which makes them useful for handling both multimedia applications such as graphics and music as well as non-media related applications such as text documents or spreadsheets.


In conclusion, the Interchange File Format (IFF) from 1985 is a versatile, reliable and easy-to-use file format for data exchange. It provides a method for transporting any type and size of data, including sound files, graphic images, text and even executable programs.

The IFF provides a way to store diverse types of data within organized ‘container’ or ‘wrapper’ files. It also supports efficient random access to information stored in the container format.

The IFF allows each file segment to be separated from one another; this ensures that only necessary parts of the total file are transferred in order to minimize bandwidth use and keep them organized on a disk drive. This makes it an ideal tool for data encapsulation, packing multiple items into single files or archives with minimal processing overhead. In short, the Interchange File Format (IFF) is an extremely useful tool that allows users to easily share any type of computer file while saving time in organizing them efficiently on their hard drives.

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