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1 Introduction

STILTS provides a number of command-line applications which can be used for manipulating tabular data. Conceptually it sits between, and uses many of the same classes as, the packages STIL, which is a set of Java APIs providing table-related functionality, and TOPCAT, which is a graphical application providing the user with an interactive platform for exploring one or more tables. This document is mostly self-contained - it covers some of the same ground as the STIL and TOPCAT user documents (SUN/252 and SUN/253 respectively).

Currently, this package consists of commands in the following categories:

Generic table manipulation
tcopy, tpipe, tmulti, tmultin, tcat, tcatn, tloop, tjoin, tgridmap, and tcube (see Section 6).
tmatch1, tmatch2, tmatchn and tskymatch2 (see Section 7).
plot2plane, plot2sky, plot2cube, plot2sphere and plot2time (also deprecated old-style plot commands plot2d, plot3d and plothist) (see Section 8).
Sky Pixel Operations
tskymap, pixfoot and pixsample.
votcopy and votlint.
Virtual Observatory access
cdsskymatch, cone, coneskymatch, tapquery, tapresume, tapskymatch, taplint, datalinklint and regquery.
SQL databases
sqlclient, sqlupdate and sqlskymatch.
calc, funcs, server and xsdvalidate.
See Appendix A for an expanded version of this list.

There are many ways you might want to use these tools; here are a few possibilities:

In conjunction with TOPCAT
you can identify a set of processing steps using TOPCAT's interactive graphical facilities, and construct a script using the commands provided here which can perform the same steps on many similar tables without further user intervention.
Format conversion
If you have a separate table processing engine and you want to be able to output the results in a somewhat different form, for instance converting it from FITS to VOTable or from TABLEDATA-encoded to BINARY-encoded VOTable, or to perform some more scientifically substantial operation such as changing units or coordinate systems, substituting bad values etc, you can pass the results through one of the tools here. Since on the whole operation is streaming, such conversion can easily and efficiently be done on the fly.
Server-side operations
The tools provided here are suitable for use on servers, either to generate files as part of a web service (perhaps along the lines of the Format conversion item above) or as configurable components in a server-based workflow system. The server command may help, but is not required, for use in these situations.
Quick look
You might want to examine the metadata, or a few rows, or a statistical summary of a table without having to load the whole thing into TOPCAT or some other table viewer application.

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STILTS - Starlink Tables Infrastructure Library Tool Set
Starlink User Note256
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