Fast, flexible metadata for arrays in Julia
Author haberdashPI
3 Stars
Updated Last
2 Years Ago
Started In
September 2018


Project Status: Active – The project has reached a stable, usable state and is being actively developed. GitHub Actions codecov

A MetaArray stores extra data (usually) as a named tuple along with an array. The data can be accessed as fields of the array object. It otherwise behaves much as the stored array.

You create a meta-array by calling meta with the specified metadata as keyword arguments; any operations over the array will preserve the metadata.

For example:

julia> y = meta(rand(10,10),val1="value1")
julia> x = meta(rand(10,10),val2="value2")

julia> z = x.*y
julia> z.val1

A MetaArray has the same array behavior, broadcasting behavior and strided array behavior as the wrapped array, while maintaining the metadata. All meta data is merged using metamerge (which defaults to the behavior of merge). You can get the wrapped array using parent and the metadata tuple using getmeta.

To implement further methods which support maintaining meta-data you can specialize over MetaArray{A} where A is the wrapped array type.

For example

mymethod(x::MetaArray{<:MyArrayType},y::MetaArray{<:MyArrayType}) =

Merging Metadata

Metadata is merged when two arrays are combined. If you wish to leverage this merging facility in your own methods of MetaArray values you can call MetaArrays.combine which takes two metadata objects and combines them into a single object using metamerge, while checking for any issues when merging identically named fields.


MetaArrays is aware of AxisArrays and the wrapped meta arrays implement a number of the same set of methods as other AxisArray objects.

Custom metadata types

Sometimes it is useful to dispatch on the type of the metadata rather than the type of the wrapped array. To make this possible, you can provide a custom type as metadata rather than fields of a generic, named tuple. This can be done by passing your custom object custom to MetaData(custom,data). For metadata to appropriately merge you will need to define metamerge for this type. Just as with named tuples, the fields of the custom type can be accessed directly from the MetaArray.

Once your custom type is defined you can dispatch on the second type parameter of the MetaArray, like so:

struct MyCustomMetadata

foo(x::MetaArray{<:Any,MyCustomMetadata}) = x.val
x = MetaArray(MyCustomMetadata("Hello, World"),1:10)

Required Packages