STIL is a set of class libraries for the input, output and manipulation of tables. It has been developed for use with astronomical tables, though it could be used for any kind of tabular data. It has no "native" external table format. What it has is a model of what a table looks like, a set of java classes for manipulating such tables, an extensible framework for table I/O, and a number of format-specific I/O handlers for dealing with several known table formats.
This document is a programmers' overview of the abilities of the STIL libraries, including some tutorial explanation and example code. Some parts of it may also be useful background reading for users of applications built on STIL. Exhaustive descriptions of all the classes and methods are not given here; that information can be found in the javadocs, which should be read in conjunction with this document if you are actually using these libraries. Much of the information here is repeated in the javadocs. The hypertext version of this document links to the relevant places in the javadocs where appropriate. The latest released version of this document in several formats can be found at http://www.starlink.ac.uk/stil/.