PNG Attachments in Romeo


A different take on A new protocol and tool for PNG file attachments.

In Playing with PNG files I introduced a blog post by Chris Wellons, i.e. A new protocol and tool for PNG file attachments, where the author proposes to use a private chunk type (named atCh) for attaching files to a PNG file.

While the solution is sound, I’m not sure there was really a need for a new type. My take is that the whole thing (filename and contents) might be easily inserted in a small data structure with keys and values, then encoded as JSON.

Why JSON? Well, it’s at ease with serializing data structures, and its encoded form is UTF-8, which happens to be the encoding mandated by the contents in the iTXt PNG chunk (which also supports compression).

Which is what add_iTXt does in Romeo:

sub add_iTXt ($self, $raw_name, $contents) {
   $contents = encode_json(
         filename => $self->proper_name($raw_name),
         bytes    => $contents,
   my $compressed = '';
   deflate(\$contents, \$compressed);

   my $data = join '',
      PORTABLE_ATTACHMENT_KEYWORD, # keyword as we like it
      "\0",                        # keyword null-termination
      "\1\0",                      # compression, PNG default (deflate)
      "\0\0",                      # no language tag & translated keyword
      $compressed;                 # data

   $self->add_chunk(iTXt => \$data);

The proper_name() tries to sanitize the file name removing directories and stuff that might upset. As everything that has to do with security, it’s an attempt I don’t swear on. (It’s also used upon extraction, just to be on the safe side.)

Have fun!

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