July 2013 Recent Releases: ITK 4.4.0

In early June the Insight Toolkit (ITK) team released ITK 4.4.0. Major updates in this release included the addition of two new ImageIO modules: MINC and SCIFO. The MINC ImageIO module provides a bridge to the MINC file format, a powerful medical imaging format used by the MINC library. The new MINC module has Image IO and Transform IO capabilities and is considered experimental; it is enabled by turning Module_ITKIOMINC ON in CMake’s configuration.

A new SCIFIO module has also been included; SCIFIO is a refactoring of the Bio-Formats library, and the module provides access to a wide range of file formats encountered in life science/microscopy environments. This experimental feature is available a Remote module; to enable it, set the Fetch_SCIFIO CMake variable to ON. Many improvements and fixes are ongoing for this module; Git master is recommended for those interested in this module.

A number of improvements were also made to DCMTK ImageIO, but this module remains experimental and disabled by default. To try DCMTK ImageIO support, turn on the CMake option Module_ITKIODCMTK. On Unix platforms, the supporting DCMTK library will automatically be built as a CMake ExternalProject; on Windows, it must be built independently of the ITK build system. Then, specify the location to the external build after setting the CMake option ITK_USE_SYSTEM_DCMTK ON.

ITK 4.4.0 also includes a number of performance improvements to QuadEdgeMesh processing and memory copy functions. A new ImageScanlineIterator is available. This iterator can be used in many of the cases where an ImageRegionIterator is applied, but it has better performance. An API design change was also started to improve the implied functionality of the GetObject methods. The non-const “GetObjectMacro” has been replaced with a “GetModifiableObjectMacro” which will result in a GetModifiableXXX method instead of a GetXXX method.

In regards to the build system in ITK 4.4.0, the minimum CMake required version was bumped to 2.8.8 on Windows and 2.8.5 otherwise. This may be increased even higher in the near future to ensure that all CMake features used operate correctly.

Known assertion failures occur when compiled under Visual Studio in the Debug configuration. This will be fixed in 4.4.1. If this has a significant negative impact on your work, please consider contributing a Nightly dashboard build under this configuration. As previously scheduled, Visual Studio 2005 is no longer supported. However, support for building against system third party libraries continues to improve, and further improvements are expected for version 4.5.

For more information on ITK 4.4.0, please visit itk.org or contact the insight-developers@kitware.com mailing list.

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Questions or comments are always welcome!