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Object-Oriented Programming with Visual Basic .NET by J.P. Hamilton

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Chapter 8. Object In, Object Out

I/O in the .NET framework centers on the stream. Think of a stream as a flow of data. The process of using a stream can be likened to two people standing at opposite ends of a river. The person upstream puts a message in a bottle and drops it in. Downstream, the other person waits with a net to pull the bottle out and get the message. The only difference between a .NET stream and this allegorical river is that the stream flows both ways.

The stream is a useful abstraction that makes it possible to read and write data to and from a variety of sources generically. For the most part, the operations for reading bytes from a file, from memory, or from a network socket are identical.

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