ISO/IEC 8632 provides a file format suitable for the storage and retrieval of picture description information. The file
format consists of an ordered set of elements that may be used to describe pictures in a way that is compatible
between systems of different architectures, compatible with devices of differing capabilities and design, and
meaningful to application constituencies. This picture description includes the capability for describing static
The elements specified provide for the representation of a wide range of pictures on a wide range of graphical
devices. The elements are organized into groups that delimit major structures (metafiles, pictures, and application
structures), that specify the representations used within the metafile, that control the display of the picture, that
perform basic drawing actions, that control the attributes of the basic drawing actions, that allow application-specific
structuring to be overlaid on the graphical content, and that provide access to non-standard device capabilities.
The metafile is defined in such a way that, in addition to sequential access to the whole metafile, random access to
individual pictures and individual context-independent application structures is well-defined. Applications which
require random access to pictures and/or context-independent application structures within pictures may, within the
metafile, define directories to these pictures and/or context-independent application structures. The metafile may
then be opened and randomly accessed without interpreting the entire metafile.
In addition to a functional specification, two standard encodings of the metafile syntax are specified. These
encodings address the needs of applications that require small metafile size plus minimum effort to generate and
interpret, and maximum flexibility for a human reader or editor of the metafile.
This part of ISO/IEC 8632 describes the format using an abstract syntax. The remaining parts of ISO 8632 specify
standardized encodings that conform to this syntax: ISO/IEC 8632-3 specifies a binary encoding; ISO/IEC 8632-4
specifies a clear text encoding.
Note: This standard is updated by a Maintenance Agency or Registration Authority