Deliberate Export

In this tutorial we will use Tiled to export data in a variety of common formats for use by some external software (i.e. not Python).

To follow along, start the Tiled server with example data from a Terminal.

tiled serve pyobject --public tiled.examples.generated:tree

Now, in a Python interpreter, connect, with the Python client.

from tiled.client import from_uri

client = from_uri("http://localhost:8000")

The Tiled server can encode its structures structures in various formats. These are just a couple of the supported formats:

# Table
client["short_talbe"].export("table.xlsx")  # Excel
client["short_table"].export("table.csv")  # CSV

# Array
client["medium_image"].export("numbers.csv")  # CSV
client["medium_image"].export("image.png")  # PNG image
client["medium_image"].export("image.tiff")  # TIFF image

It’s possible to select a subset of the data to only “pay” for what you need.

# Export just some of the columns...
client["short_table"].export("table.csv", columns=["A", "B"])

# Export an N-dimensional slice...
client["medium_image"].export("numbers.csv", slice=[0])  # like arr[0]
client["medium_image"].export("numbers.csv", slice=numpy.s_[:10, 100:200])  # like arr[:10, 100:200]

In the examples above, the desired format is automatically detected from the file extension (table.csv -> csv). It can also be specified explicitly.

# Format inferred from filename...

# Format given as a file extension...
client["short_table"].export("table.csv", format="csv")

# Format given as a media type (MIME)...
client["short_table"].export("table.csv", format="text/csv")

Supported Formats

To list the supported formats for a given structure:


It is easy to add formats and customize the details of how they are exported, so the list of supported formats will vary depending on whose Tiled service you are connected to and how it has been configured.

Out of the box, Tiled currently supports:


  • C-ordered memory buffer application/octet-stream

  • JSON application/json

  • CSV text/csv

  • PNG image/png

  • TIFF image/tiff

  • HTML text/html


  • Apache Arrow application/vnd.apache.arrow.file

  • Parquet application/x-parqet

  • CSV text/csv

  • JSON application/json

  • HTML text/html

  • Excel (xlsx) application/vnd.openxmlformats-officedocument.spreadsheetml.sheet

Xarray Dataset:

  • NetCDF application/netcdf

  • The DataFrame formats, by transforming to_dataframe(), which may or may not be an appropriate transformation depending on your data.


The support the full list of formats, the machine that is running tiled serve ... needs to have the relevant I/O libraries installed (e.g. tifffile for TIFF, pillow for PNG). If they aren’t installed, tiled serve ... will detect that and omit them from the list of supported formats.

The user (client) does not need to have any I/O libraries. Because the service does all the encoding and just sends opaque bytes for the client to save, a user can write TIFF files (for example) without actually having any TIFF-writing Python library installed!

Export to an open file or buffer

It is also possible to export directly into an open file (or any writeable buffer) in which case the format must be specified.

# Writing directly to an open file
with open("table.csv", "wb") as file:
    client["short_table"].export(file, format="csv")

# Writing to a buffer
from io import BytesIO

buffer = BytesIO()
client["short_table"].export(buffer, format="csv")


While it is easy to add or change the set exporters, the user does not have any options for customizing the output of a given exporter. For example, while the CSV export does let the user choose which columns to export, it does not let the user rename the column headings or choose a different value separator from the default (,). Tiled focuses on getting you the precisely data you want, not on formatting it “just so”. To do more refined export, use standard Python tools, as in:

df = client["short_table"].read()
# At this point we are done with Tiled. From here, we just use pandas,
# or whatever we want.
df.to_csv("table.csv", sep=";", header=["custom", "column", "headings"])

Or else add or change the exporters provided by the service to better suit your needs.

Consider: Is there a better way?

If your data analysis is taking place in Python, then you may have no need to export files. Your code will be faster and simpler if you work directly with numpy, pandas, and/or xarray structures directly.

If your data analysis is in another language, can it access the data from the Tiled server directly over HTTP? Tiled supports efficient formats (e.g. numpy C buffers, Apache Arrow DataFrames) and universal interchange formats (e.g. CSV, JSON) and perhaps one of those will be the fastest way to get data into your program.

Comparison to caching

This tutorial demonstrated deliberate export, where Tiled generates a file on disk and leaves it to the user to manage that file and do something with it outside of Tiled. This is different from Keep a Local Copy, where Tiled takes control of a local cache of data in order to improve Tiled’s own operation.