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Thinking in C++
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Using the iostreams class

To declare the functions and external data in the iostreams class, include the header file with the statement

#include <iostream>

The first program uses the concept of standard output, which means “a general-purpose place to send output.” You will see other examples using standard output in different ways, but here it will just go to the console. The iostream package automatically defines a variable (an object) called cout that accepts all data bound for standard output.

To send data to standard output, you use the operator <<. C programmers know this operator as the “bitwise left shift,” which will be described in the next chapter. Suffice it to say that a bitwise left shift has nothing to do with output. However, C++ allows operators to be overloaded. When you overload an operator, you give it a new meaning when that operator is used with an object of a particular type. With iostream objects, the operator << means “send to.” For example:

cout << "howdy!";

sends the string “howdy!” to the object called cout (which is short for “console output”).

That’s enough operator overloading to get you started. Chapter 12 covers operator overloading in detail.

Thinking in C++
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire