Binary vs ASCII GDSII formats
ASCII file format has many advantages, such as:
- easy to edit, grep, search, etc; there are many external
tools available for text files;
- easy to browse through, flexibility of ASCII parser allows
for easily readable text formatting;
- easy to create, both manually and programmatically;
- easy to write tools for extracting information from a text
- no 16-bit field, 32-bit data and other limitations of the binary format.
- text files have better compression ratio; in many
cases compressed ASCII file is smaller than corresponding compressed binary GDSII
file. For example, storing ASCII files on a compressed drive or directory takes less space
than storing corresponding binary GDSII files.
The biggest disadvantage of ASCII format is much slower
parsing. The flexibility of text format requires parser to do far more work
than in case of a rigid binary format.