Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Resource Interchange File Format (RIFF) is a generic meta-format for storing data in tagged chunks. It was introduced in 1991 by Microsoft and IBM. It is a clone of Electronic Arts's Interchange File Format, introducted in 1985, the only difference being that multi-byte integers are in little-endian format, native to the 80x86 processor series used in IBM PCs, rather than the big-endian format native to the 68k processor series used in Amiga and Apple Macintosh computers, where IFF files were heavily used.
RIFF files consist of a simple header followed by "chunks". The format is identical to IFF, except for the endianness as previously stated.
- 4 bytes: The ASCII identifier "RIFF".
- 4 bytes: an unsigned, little-endian 32-bit integer with the length of the overall file (except this field itself and the RIFF identifier).
- 4 bytes: An ASCII identifer for this particular filetype, such as "AVI " or "WAVE".
- Chunks follow from here on. Each chunk consists of
- 4 bytes: An ASCII identifier for this chunk, e.g. "fmt " or "data"
- 4 bytes: an unsigned, little-endian 32-bit integer with the length of this chunk (except this field itself and the chunk identifier).
- Variable-sized field: the chunk data itself, of the size given in the previous field.
- A pad byte, if the chunk's length is not even.
More information about the format can be found in the Interchange File Format article.
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