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Thinking in Java
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Readers & Writers

Java 1.1 made some significant modifications to the fundamental I/O stream library. When you see the Reader and Writer classes, your first thought (like mine) might be that these were meant to replace the InputStream and OutputStream classes. But that’s not the case. Although some aspects of the original streams library are deprecated (if you use them you will receive a warning from the compiler), the InputStream and OutputStream classes still provide valuable functionality in the form of byte-oriented I/O, whereas the Reader and Writer classes provide Unicode-compliant, character-based I/O. In addition:

  1. Java 1.1 added new classes into the InputStream and OutputStream hierarchy, so it’s obvious those hierarchies weren’t being replaced.
  2. There are times when you must use classes from the “byte” hierarchy in combination with classes in the “character” hierarchy. To accomplish this, there are “adapter” classes: InputStreamReader converts an InputStream to a Reader and OutputStreamWriter converts an OutputStream to a Writer. title="Send BackTalk

    As is the practice in this book, I will attempt to provide an overview of the classes, but assume that you will use the JDK documentation to determine all the details, such as the exhaustive list of methods.
    Thinking in Java
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire