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Java I/O, NIO and NIO.2 by Jeff Friesen

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Chapter    5

Writers and Readers

Java’s stream classes are good for streaming sequences of bytes, but they’re not good for streaming sequences of characters because bytes and characters are two different things: a byte represents an 8-bit data item and a character represents a 16-bit data item. Also, Java’s char and java.lang.String types naturally handle characters instead of bytes.

More importantly, byte streams have no knowledge of character sets (sets of mappings between integer values, known as code points, and symbols, such as Unicode) and their character encodings (mappings between the members of a character set and sequences of bytes that encode these characters for efficiency, such as UTF-8).

A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHARACTER SETS AND CHARACTER ...

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