Introduction (DDF-Syntax) DMXC3

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Books.png Introduction (DDF-Syntax) DMXC3 Article describes
DMXControl 3.2.3
Basic structure of a DDF Arrow forw.png
Table of Contents
Part 1: Basics
Part 2: Functions
Part 3: Procedures
Part 4: Examples

The Device Definition File (DDF for short) is an XML file in which all necessary information for DMXControl 3 is stored to intelligently control a device such as a moving head, scanner, or LED PAR. It tells DMXControl 3, for example, that in the case of an LED PAR, the colors red, green, and blue are on channels 2, 3, and 4, respectively, while dimmer and strobe are on channels 1 and 5. Furthermore, a DDF for DMXControl 3 contains all the information necessary for the GUI to automatically create the typical uniform user interface for all types of DDFs used in DMXControl 3.


For DMXControl 3 to properly control a connected device with all the features available in DMXControl 3, exactly this information must be stored in the associated project. This information, which functions a device offers, is stored in a DDF. Since these functions vary from device to device, each device requires its own DDF. The second task of the DDF is to use the information in the DDF to automatically display the content of the Device Controls and the functionality of the individual controls for color, gobo, intensity, and possibly other controls. Designing the user interface for the DDFs as in DMXControl 2 is no longer necessary in DMXControl 3.

Whenever the functions of the devices change, a new DDF must be created. This means that the same DDF can be used for 20 identical dimmers (classic PAR cans on dimmer packs), whereas moving heads with different channel assignments (DMX modes[1]) require separate DDFs. In the latter case, it is important that the DDF matches the selected DMX mode to ensure proper control.

Important hint The DDF files for DMXControl 3 have a specific syntax. Using XML files from other applications, especially from DMXControl 2, is not possible.

Storage location

DDFs in DMXControl 3 are fundamentally divided into three categories, each with a different storage location and priority for loading and use in projects due to their definition. Through the icons, it is possible in the Add Device dialog to assign a DDF to a corresponding category.
Attention All DDFs delivered by the installer and stored in the directory "{PROGRAM DIRECTORY}\Kernel\LibDevices\" are completely overwritten with each update or new installation. Please use the "UserDevices" directory for your own DDFs, which you can access via the shortcut « Own DDFs » in the Windows Start menu (see Figure 1).
1Shortcut in the Start menu to access the folder for self-created DDFs.
1 Shortcut in the Start menu to access the folder for self-created DDFs.
2Own DDFs in the UserDevices directory.
2 Own DDFs in the UserDevices directory.

DDF categories

Category Icon Description Storage Location Priority
Project DDF DMXC3 Icon V-Collection suitcase2.png Includes all DDFs needed for the proper operation of the current project "{PROJECT-ZIP}\LibDevices"
Highest priority in the current project,
not present in new projects
User DDFs DMXC3 Icon V-Collection pawn blue.png DDFs created by the user themselves "{APPDATA}\DMXControl Projects e.V\DMXControl\Kernel\UserDevices\"
or custom directory using an environment variable
Medium priority in the current project,
highest priority in new projects
Lib DDFs DMXC3 Icon V-Collection earth.png Standard DDFs supplied by the installer "{PROGRAM DIRECTORY}\Kernel\LibDevices\" Lowest priority in the current project,
medium priority in new projects
DDFs downloaded later via the DDF Library "{APPDATA}\DMXControl Projects e.V\DMXControl\Kernel\LibDevices\"


  • "{PROJECT-ZIP}" refers to the directories created within the project file. To see the contents of these directories, the project file must be opened with any compression program.
  • "{PROGRAM DIRECTORY}" refers to the directory where DMXControl 3 is installed. If this was not changed during the installation of DMXControl 3, the path is usually "C:\Program Files (x86)\DMXControl3\"
  • The directory "{APPDATA}" where various user-defined settings from many programs are stored can be found under the following path, replacing "{USERNAME}" with the name of the current user of the PC: "C:\Users\{USERNAME}\AppData\Roaming\DMXControl Projects e.V\DMXControl\".

Additional information on setting an environment variable to move user data to a separate directory can be found in the article System Configuration.

Important Hint The directory can also be reached as a shortcut by entering the path "%AppData%\Roaming\DMXControl Projects e.V\DMXControl\" in the address bar of Windows Explorer. For easier access to the directory, the DMXControl 3 installer also creates a shortcut called Own DDFs in the Start menu.

In all folders "{PROGRAM DIRECTORY}", "{APPDATA}" and also in the "{PROJECT-ZIP}" directory, there are two subdirectories under the "LibDevices" and "UserDevices" directories:

  • "Images": Image for the device's icon in the Stage View, for example, a product image from the manufacturer
  • "Icons": Icons for the gobos of the devices

DMXControl 3 searches for the image files from these directories specified in a DDF. The image files themselves are not stored in the DDF. Only references are contained here. Therefore, in addition to the DDF, the image files from both directories must always be copied if you want to use the DDF on another PC for a new project.


  1. Different number and assignment of DMX channels, adjustable on the device itself