A new set of software applications and libraries for use in the archival and analysis of pulsar astronomical data is introduced. Known collectively as the psrchive scheme, the code was developed in parallel with a new data storage format called psrfits, which is based on the Flexible Image Transport System (FITS). Both of these projects utilise a modular, object-oriented design philosophy. psrchive is an open source development environment that incorporates an extensive range of c++ object classes and pre-built command line and graphical utilities. These deal transparently and simultaneously with multiple data storage formats, thereby enhancing data portability and facilitating the adoption of the psrfits file format. Here, data are stored in a series of modular header–data units that provide flexibility and scope for future expansion. As it is based on FITS, various standard libraries and applications may be used for data input, output, and visualisation. Both psrchive and psrfits are made publicly available to the academic community in the hope that this will promote their widespread use and acceptance.