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Data Digester Basic Edition (BE)

Data Digester BE Software Box

The Data Digester Basic Edition (BE) is the smallest and cost-effective solution for all users searching for a single tool to examine message digests (aka checksums) and to verify OpenPGP signatures. The Basic Edition provides support for the commonly used message digest algorithms like MD5 and SHA as well as for OpenPGP signatures.

The integrated file system window allows for an easy and intuitive working with files and directories. Simply locate the archived or downloaded files on your PC, then double-click the message digest or OpenPGP signature file and the Data Digester starts working. After an instant, you are informed whether the referenced target files have been checked/verified successfully or if they were corrupted or manipulated and should not be used any further for security reasons.

The key features of the Data Digester Basic Edition at a glance:

  • Examine checksums like MD5 or SHA. Verify OpenPGP signatures.
  • Supports GNU, BSD, and the new Digester XML file format. Check files with multiple checksums.
  • Ideal solution to verify downloads from the Internet and check integrity of archived files.
  • Be platform independent. Runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many more systems.
  • Use the installers or execute the application directly with Java Web Start.
  • Call the command line interface from your own applications. Support for Ant build scripts.


Examine checksums and verify OpenPGP signatures

All editions of the Data Digester software provide various methods to examine checksums and signature files against examinee files. Besides the intuitive way to select files and directories within the integrated file system window, a special file selection dialog exists where you can specify either digest/signature files or examinee files. The Data Digester software automatically detects available digests/signatures and examinees. Currently, the Data Digester supports the following message digest algorithms: MD2, MD4, MD5, RIPEMD-128, RIPEMD-160, RIPEMD-256, RIPEMD-320, SHA-1, SHA-224, SHA-256, SHA-384, SHA-512, Tiger, and Whirlpool.


The check docking window is the central component to setup the file checking process. Here you can configure the available options used for file analysis and digest/signature calculation. Additionally, this is the place where you can search directories and subdirectories for files so that checksum files in entire directory trees can be processed (e.g. useful for backups). The Data Digester software also handles checksum files or examinee files passed as command line parameters. For some operating systems like Windows it is possible that the installer registers the Data Digester software to process files with typical file extensions. For example you can double-click a *.sha file within the Windows© Explorer application which then opens the Data Digester software.



Process GNU/BSD/Digester XML files with multiple checksums

To check single files or file collections it is necessary to store the computed checksums for the original files into checksum files. Normally these checksum files are stored together with the original files for example on magnetic tape which are then delivered to a safe place like a bank safe. In the emergency case such backups can be restored. On the Internet you can find checksum files predominantly on FTP and other download servers. Normally the checksum files are named after the original files by adding a distinctive suffix such as .md5 for MD5.

The most common file format used for checksum files on the Internet is the GNU format. The data is stored as text lines each of which holding a calculated checksum for exactly one single original file. Another widely used file format for checksum files on the Internet is the BSD file format. Like GNU format files, the checksum values are stored as separate text lines for each original file while the line format is slightly different for BSD format files.

Wherever possible the new Digester XML file format should be preferred which can be used very efficiently together with the Data Digester software. Here you can also create single checksum files for each original file but the checksums can also be bundled together in arbitrary combinations even over drive boundaries. Another advantage of the Digester XML format is the capability to store intermediate digests. While GNU/BSD files  can only contain one single checksum for each original file, the use of Digester XML files allows to store as many digests/signatures as desired. Unnecessary to mention that Digester XML files can also contain OpenPGP signatures, so it's one format for all.

Here you can view some Digester XML examples.


Verify Internet downloads and check archive file integrity

The Data Digester Basic Edition provides a convenient mechanism to download and check files from the Internet. You simply have to enter the network address of the download file or the associated digests/signature file in the so-called Quick Check field. Instead of typing the address it may also be inserted via copy & paste using your Internet browsers' address field.


In the example shown below a large Linux ISO image file has been specified. By clicking the Go button the Data Digester software searches for usable checksums on the server and offers them for checking. The ISO file may then be downloaded to a local directory of your choice. If message digest files have been found and selected, the downloaded file is automatically checked against the checksums while the file is being downloaded. Once the download is complete the checking results are presented. This is an easy way to ensure that downloaded files are valid. With OpenPGP signatures it is also possible to check if the downloads really come from where they claim to originate.

Quick Check

The Data Digester Basic edition is the ideal solution to check the integrity of large file collections like server  backups or multimedia document archives. While single files may be checked with checksums and signatures, the Data Digester software allows one to check directories and whole file system trees in one single step. If any files were corrupted or somehow manipulated, this will be detected during the checking phase. The invalid data could then be replaced e.g. by a second valid backup or redundant data store.



Runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many more systems

The Data Digester software is written in pure Java which allows the software to be executed on almost any platform on the market. If your environment changes from one platform to another, chances are good that the Data Digester software can be migrated without problems to the new platform. The obtained licenses are still usable no matter the platform. This gives system administrators the flexibility to migrate from one platform to another without generating additional software license costs.

Future versions of the Data Digester software will add support for mobile devices like smart phones and tablets. So the marketing slogan "Write once, run everywhere" becomes reality.


Install or execute the application with Java Web Start

The Data Digester software can be executed in two ways: from a classic installation or directly using Java Web Start. Installers exist for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux/UNIX systems. There are currently two Windows installers available, one including a Java runtime environment (JRE) already. Additionally, a DMG installer for Mac OS X is available as well as a universal shell executable installer for Linux/UNIX operating systems. All installers can be executed either from the command line/shell or in a graphical environment.


The Data Digester software may also be run directly from a website by clicking the Launch button (an appropriate Java runtime environment must be installed on the PC). The application is then downloaded and started right away. If the software is started the next time using the desktop icon or the link again, the application is not downloaded again but started from the local cache. There is no need for time consuming installations, so Java Web Start is the ideal mechanism to execute the Data Digester software on a customers' site, on temporarily used PCs, or mobile devices like notebooks.


Command Line

Command line interface and native Ant support

Use the command line interface of the Data Digester Basic Edition called digestercli to examine checksum and OpenPGP signature files on those computer systems lacking a graphical user interface (e.g. from a remote system). The Data Digester software implements the Apache Ant task interface to support Ant build scripting natively. Let the Data Digester GUI generate the command line arguments and Ant task definitions for you, so there is no need for additional programming.

Please take a look at the command line arguments for the Check, Generate, Refresh, and Sync operation modes of the command line application digestercliHere you can view the Apache Ant examples.

How to continue

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