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Definition of Stream

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Definition: A stream is an important concept in modern programming. Earlier programming languages such as Fortran, Cobol and Basic had input and output built in to those languages.

Modern languages like C, C++ and C# tend to avoid having this and instead implement input and output via library functions. Output involves sending a stream of byte to a device and whether that device is the screen, an object in memory, a file on disk, another computer on a network or a printer is unimportant. The same routines can be used with different destinations. In earlier languages you needed separate routines to handle each device. Streams make this flexibility possible.

Glossary:

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Examples:
Many input devices support streams, e.g. disks, and communication devices.

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