A Software Toolkit for Image Coding/Processing

View the Project on GitHub jasper-software/jasper

Software Overview

JasPer is a software toolkit for the handling of image data. The software provides a means for representing images, and facilitates the manipulation of image data, as well as the import/export of such data in numerous formats (e.g., JPEG-2000 JP2, JPEG, PNM, BMP, Sun Rasterfile, and PGX). The import functionality supports the auto-detection (i.e., automatic determination) of the image format, eliminating the need to explicitly identify the format of coded input data. A simple color management engine is also provided in order to allow the accurate representation of color. Partial support is included for the ICC color profile file format, an industry standard for specifying color.

The JasPer software consists of a library and several application programs. The code is written in the C programming language. This language was chosen primarily due to the availability of C development environments for most computing platforms when JasPer was first developed, circa 1999.

Portability has been (and continues to be) a major consideration in the development of JasPer. For this reason, the software makes minimal assumptions about the compile- and run-time environments. The code should compile and run on any platform with a C language implementation that is reasonably compliant with ISO 9899:1999 (i.e., C99) and has some limited support for ISO 9945 (i.e., the POSIX C API). For example, JasPer compiles and runs (without modification) under Microsoft Windows and many variants of UNIX (e.g., Linux, macOS, BSD, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, and IRIX).

In order to provide JPEG support, JasPer relies on the popular IJG JPEG library. For graphics support, JasPer makes use of the OpenGL and GLUT libraries. These particular libraries were chosen due to their availability on many platforms, including Microsoft Windows and most flavors of UNIX, when JasPer was first developed (circa 1999).

Users of JasPer

This JasPer software has also been incorporated into numerous other software projects (some commercial and some non-commercial). Some projects known to use JasPer include:

Historical Perspective

The JasPer software was initially developed in order to provide a free reference implementation of the ISO/IEC 15444-1 (i.e., JPEG-2000 Part-1) codec. JasPer was originally written by Michael Adams during his doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. During this time, Michael became heavily involved in the JPEG-2000 standarization effort, serving as a Co-Editor of Part 5 of the JPEG-2000 standard. Work on JasPer began in September 1999, and in December 2000, the software was first released in source code form to the general public. The JasPer software has since been published in the JPEG-2000 Part-5 standard as a reference implementation of the JPEG-2000 Part-1 codec.

Since 2000 (circa JasPer version 0.016.0), JasPer has continued to evolve, and in so doing, the motivations/objectives behind the development of this software grew more ambitious. Although originally conceived as simply a JPEG-2000 reference implementation, JasPer has further evolved into a general-purpose toolkit for handling image data that is useful in a wide variety of applications.

In September 2016, JasPer transitioned from using a private Subversion repository to a public Git repository hosted by GitHub. Since this time, the number of contributors to JasPer has grown. In June 2020, the Git repository for JasPer, which was originally owned by the GitHub user mdadams was transferred to the new jasper-software organization in order to better facilitate collaborative efforts to develop and maintain the software.


Detailed information about the JasPer software can be found in the JasPer Software Reference Manual, which is available online at:

Some high level descriptions of JasPer can be found in:

Some information on the JPEG-2000 standard can be found in: