Did you try H5CPP, an easy to use compiler assisted template library that introduces relaxed function prototypes, optimized/profiled HDF5 CAPI calls and hides the details so you can start right away? While the library is under heavy development it is functional, supports major linear algebra systems as well as arbitrary deep POD types with seamless compiler assistance, and the STL vector.

How simple can it get?

h5::write( "arma.h5", "arma vec inside matrix", V // object contains 'count' and rank being written
,h5::current_dims{40,50} // control file_space directly where you want to place vector
,h5::offset{5,0} // when no explicit current dimension given current dimension := offset .+ object_dim .* stride (hadamard product)
,h5::stride{4,4}, h5::block{3,3}
,h5::max_dims{40,H5S_UNLIMITED} )
// wouldn't it be nice to have unlimited dimension?
// if no explicit chunk is set, then the object dimension is
// used as unit chunk

The above example is to demonstrate partial create + write with extendable datasets which can be turned into high performance packet table: h5::pt_t by a simple conversion h5::pt_t pt = h5::open( ... ) , h5::pt_t pt = h5::create(...) or h5::pt_t pt = ds where h5::ds_t ds = ....

h5::create | h5::read | h5::write | h5::append take RAII enabled descriptors or CAPI hid_t ones – depending on conversion policy: seamless or controlled fashion. The optional arguments may be placed in any order, compile time computed and come with intelligent compile time error messages.

h5::write( "arma.h5", "arma vec inside matrix", V
,h5::stride{4,4}, h5::block{3,3}, h5::current_dims{40,50}
,h5::offset{5,0}, h5::max_dims{40,H5S_UNLIMITED} );

Wouldn't it be nice not to have to remember everything? Focus on the idea, write it out intuitively and refine it later. The function construct below compiles into the same instructions as above.

h5::write( "arma.h5", "arma vec inside matrix", V
,h5::max_dims{40,H5S_UNLIMITED}, h5::stride{4,4}, h5::current_dims{40,50}
,h5::block{3,3}, h5::offset{5,0}, );

Why should you know about HDF5 at all, isn't it work about ideas? the details can be filled in later when needed:

// supported objects: raw pointers | armadillo | eigen3 | blaze | blitz++ | it++ | dlib | uBlas | std::vector
arma::vec V(4); // some vector: armadillo, eigen3,
h5::write( "arma.h5", "path/to/dataset name", V);

How about some really complicated POD struct type that your client or colleague wants to see in action right now? Invoke clang++ based h5cpp compiler on the translation unit – group of files which are turned into a single object file – and call it done!

namespace sn {
namespace typecheck {
struct Record { /*the types with direct mapping to HDF5*/
char _char; unsigned char _uchar; short _short; unsigned short _ushort; int _int; unsigned int _uint;
long _long; unsigned long _ulong; long long int _llong; unsigned long long _ullong;
float _float; double _double; long double _ldouble;
bool _bool;
// wide characters are not supported in HDF5
// wchar_t _wchar; char16_t _wchar16; char32_t _wchar32;
namespace other {
struct Record { // POD struct with nested namespace
MyUInt idx; // typedef type
MyUInt aa; // typedef type
double field_02[3]; // const array mapped
typecheck::Record field_03[4]; //
namespace example {
struct Record { // POD struct with nested namespace
MyUInt idx; // typedef type
float field_02[7]; // const array mapped
sn::other::Record field_03[5]; // embedded Record
sn::other::Record field_04[5]; // must be optimized out, same as previous
other::Record field_05[3][8]; // array of arrays
namespace not_supported_yet {
// NON POD: not supported in phase 1
// C++ Class -> PODstruct -> persistence[ HDF5 | ??? ] -> PODstruct -> C++ Class
struct Container {
double idx; //
std::string field_05; // c++ object makes it non-POD
std::vector<example::Record> field_02; // ditto
// these structs are not referenced with h5::read|h5::write|h5::create operators
// hence compiler should ignore them.
struct IgnoredRecord {
signed long int idx;
float field_0n;

I did try to make the above include file as ugly and complicated as I could. But do you really need to read it? What if you had a technology at your disposal that can do it for you? In your code all you have to do is to trigger the compiler by making any h5:: operations on the desired data structure. It works without the hmmm boring details?

std::vector<sn::example::Record> vec
= h5::utils::get_test_data<sn::example::Record>(20);
// mark vec with an h5:: operator and delegate
// the details to h5cpp compiler
h5::write(fd, "orm/partial/vector one_shot", vec );

H5CPP is a novel approach to persistence in the field of machine learning, it provides high performance sequential and block access to HDF5 containers through modern C++. If you liked what you see please come and see our presentation in Chicago C++ usergroup meeting on July 31

best wishes: steven varga the author of h5cpp