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Originally posted by Tarek Khojah: Now any given stream has a buffer, correct?
No, not every stream absolutely needs to have a buffer. It's up to who implements the stream class, and it might not be necessary to have a buffer.
So for example, I can't read the entire contents of a stream all at once, I can only read whatever is small enough to pass through the buffer.
Same with writing, I can't just write huge amounts of data in a single "write()" call, I need to use a while loop, always writing as little as one byte, or as big as the buffer's size, no more.
Same with read, I can't read the whole stream and save it somewhere, I can only read as much as a buffer's size at a given read() call.
Is that correct?
Not really, the stream hides implementation details like how large its internal buffer is, if it has any. For example, the method OutputStream.write(byte) accepts a byte of any length. There's no restriction on the length of the byte you call it with because of the length of the buffer that the stream uses internally.