User Guide#

The idea of the pyEvalData module is to provide a simple but yet flexible way for reading and evaluating scientific data acquired at synchrotrons, FELs, or in the lab. It is written with the intend to reuse available code as much as possible and to simplify the access to complex data formats and very general evaluation and analysis procedures. Generally, students and scientists should focus on data interpretation rather than on scripting the same routines again and again.

Please read the upcoming section to understand the concept of reading and evaluating data with pyEvalData and how to extend/configure the module to your needs.

It is also strongly recommended to follow the examples which can also be run locally as jupyter notebooks. More details can be found in the API documentation of the individual sub-modules and classes.

General Concepts#

The following figure illustrates the main components of the pyEvalData module and their interactions.


Raw Data#

The starting point of most evaluations is any set of raw data files as generated by an experimental setup consisting of actuators such as motors and counters such as detectors, cameras, or sensors.

Typical data formats are human readable text files or compressed hdf5 or NeXus files. Cameras often use tiff or proprietary file formats.


The Source class provides a common set of methods and attributes to read and store raw data. It further acts as an interface to implement the source-specific classes.

A Source class should be able to parse the raw data to detect all available scans e.g. in a data file or folder structure and to extract the scan’s meta information such as a scan number or scan command. The actual data for a scan must be read by an independent method.

The scan meta information and possibly also the scan data are stored in a Scan object, which provides a general but flexible interface between the Source and Evaluation classes. All Scan objects of a raw data source are stored in the scan_dict attribute of the Source object.

The pyEvalData modules provides several build-in Source classes, e.g. for spec, hdf5, and NeXus files. It can be easily extended by the user as explained in the write your own Source section. It is highly appreciated if new Source plugins are shared with the community.

In a future release, it will be possible to join two or multiple Source classes to create a CompositeSource object. This will be helpful to read separate raw data sources originating from the same experiment. A typical example is a scan file, such as a spec file and a folder structure containing camera images, which are linked to the data points in the scan file.

pyEvalData NeXus file#

A rather general feature of the pyEvalData module is the usage of a NeXus file for converting the raw data in a common, structured, fast, and compressed data format. If enabled, the user can benefit from:

  • a single data file containing all raw data - easy portability

  • high degree of compression - saves disk space

  • fast data access - saves computational time

  • common and well documented structure - easy access also by external tools


The Evaluation class requires any kind of Source on initialization. Hence it has access to all available scans in the scan_dict. In addition to all available meta information and raw data, it allows for defining additional counters by user-defined algebraic expression, which can also handle nested expressions.

Variable injection of pre- and post-filter for the raw and evaluated data, respectively, enables to simplify common procedures such as outlier removal, offset removal, or normalization. In a future release, the filters will be provided as dedicated objects inheriting from a base Filter class. It will be possible to concatenate multiple filters and again a set of common filters will be available in the pyEvalData module, while adding new user-defined filters is explained in the write your own Filter section.

Further features of the Evaluation is to handle the averaging of multiple scans. Here, the case of multiple datasets with different $x$-grids is a very common but yet complex scenario. The Evaluation class will never interpolate any data, because one should avoid the generation of data-points. Instead, the data will be always binned onto an automatically-generated or user-defined $x$-grid. The underlying algorithm take also care of the correct error-calculations and can handle error-propagation as well as Possion statistics as required for single-photon-counting data.

Finally, the evaluated data can be easily plotted as well as fitted based on the matplotlib and lmfit modules. As a very common task it is easily possible to do the plotting and fitting for a sequence of one or multiple scans in dependence of an external parameter, such as a temperature series or alike.

Write your own Source#

All you need to do is to define your own class which inherits from the Source class of the pyEvalData module. You can do so also directly in your evaluation script following this example containing some pseudo-code.

import pyEvalData as ped

class MyDataSource(

    Here you should copy and adapt the doctring from the ``Source`` class for
    proper documentation

    def __init__(self, file_name, file_path='./', **kwargs):
        super().__init__(file_name, file_path, **kwargs)

    def parse_raw(self):

        Parse the raw source file/folder and populate the `scan_dict`.

        raw_scans = parse_my_raw_data(self.file_name, self.file_path)
        for rs in raw_scans:
            # create the Scan from the meta information
            scan =,
            # store the scan in the scan_dict
            self.scan_dict[] = scan

            # check if the data needs to be read as well, if not it will be
            # read on demand later
            if self.read_all_data:

    def read_raw_scan_data(self, scan):

        Reads the data for a given scan object from raw source.

            scan (Scan): scan object.

        # read the actual data
        raw_scan_data = read_my_raw_scan_data(scan.number)
        # set the data of the scan object = raw_scan_data

Write your own Filter#

comming soon …