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Ruby Programming
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What Is an IO Object?

Ruby defines a single base class, IO, to handle input and output. This base class is subclassed by classes File and BasicSocket to provide more specialized behavior, but the principles are the same throughout. An IO object is a bidirectional channel between a Ruby program and some external resource.[For those who just have to know the implementation details, this means that a single IO object can sometimes be managing more than one operating system file descriptor. For example, if you open a pair of pipes, a single IO object contains both a read pipe and a write pipe.] There may be more to an IO object than meets the eye, but in the end you still simply write to it and read from it.

In this chapter, we'll be concentrating on class IO and its most commonly used subclass, class File. For more details on using the socket classes for networking, see the section beginning on page 469.
Ruby Programming
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