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Stream Class

Provides a generic view of a sequence of bytes.

Namespace:  System.IO
Assembly:  mscorlib (in mscorlib.dll)

[ComVisibleAttribute(true)]
public abstract class Stream : IDisposable

The Stream type exposes the following members.

  NameDescription
Protected methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360StreamInitializes a new instance of the Stream class.
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  NameDescription
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360CanReadWhen overridden in a derived class, gets a value indicating whether the current stream supports reading.
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360CanSeekWhen overridden in a derived class, gets a value indicating whether the current stream supports seeking.
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360CanTimeoutGets a value that determines whether the current stream can time out.
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360CanWriteWhen overridden in a derived class, gets a value indicating whether the current stream supports writing.
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360LengthWhen overridden in a derived class, gets the length in bytes of the stream.
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360PositionWhen overridden in a derived class, gets or sets the position within the current stream.
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360ReadTimeoutGets or sets a value, in miliseconds, that determines how long the stream will attempt to read before timing out.
Public propertySupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360WriteTimeoutGets or sets a value, in miliseconds, that determines how long the stream will attempt to write before timing out.
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  NameDescription
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360BeginReadBegins an asynchronous read operation.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360BeginWriteBegins an asynchronous write operation.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360CloseCloses the current stream and releases any resources (such as sockets and file handles) associated with the current stream.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneCopyTo(Stream)Reads all the bytes from the current stream and writes them to the destination stream.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneCopyTo(Stream, Int32)Reads all the bytes from the current stream and writes them to a destination stream, using a specified buffer size.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360Dispose()Releases all resources used by the Stream.
Protected methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360Dispose(Boolean)Releases the unmanaged resources used by the Stream and optionally releases the managed resources.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360EndReadWaits for the pending asynchronous read to complete.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360EndWriteEnds an asynchronous write operation.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360Equals(Object)Determines whether the specified Object is equal to the current Object. (Inherited from Object.)
Protected methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360FinalizeAllows an object to try to free resources and perform other cleanup operations before the Object is reclaimed by garbage collection. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360FlushWhen overridden in a derived class, clears all buffers for this stream and causes any buffered data to be written to the underlying device.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360GetHashCodeServes as a hash function for a particular type. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360GetTypeGets the Type of the current instance. (Inherited from Object.)
Protected methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360MemberwiseCloneCreates a shallow copy of the current Object. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360ReadWhen overridden in a derived class, reads a sequence of bytes from the current stream and advances the position within the stream by the number of bytes read.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360ReadByteReads a byte from the stream and advances the position within the stream by one byte, or returns -1 if at the end of the stream.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360SeekWhen overridden in a derived class, sets the position within the current stream.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360SetLengthWhen overridden in a derived class, sets the length of the current stream.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360ToStringReturns a string that represents the current object. (Inherited from Object.)
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360WriteWhen overridden in a derived class, writes a sequence of bytes to the current stream and advances the current position within this stream by the number of bytes written.
Public methodSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360WriteByteWrites a byte to the current position in the stream and advances the position within the stream by one byte.
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  NameDescription
Public fieldStatic memberSupported by Silverlight for Windows PhoneSupported by Xbox 360NullA Stream with no backing store.
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Streams involve three fundamental operations:

  1. You can read from streams. Reading is the transfer of data from a stream into a data structure, such as an array of bytes.

  2. You can write to streams. Writing is the transfer of data from a data structure into a stream.

  3. Streams can support seeking. Seeking is the querying and modifying of the current position within a stream. Seek capability depends on the kind of backing store a stream has. For example, network streams have no unified concept of a current position, and therefore typically do not support seeking.

Stream is the abstract base class of all streams. A stream is an abstraction of a sequence of bytes, such as a file, an input/output device, an inter-process communication pipe, or a TCP/IP socket. The Stream class and its derived classes provide a generic view of these different types of input and output, isolating the programmer from the specific details of the operating system and the underlying devices.

Depending on the underlying data source or repository, streams might support only some of these capabilities. An application can query a stream for its capabilities by using the CanRead, CanWrite, and CanSeek properties.

The Read and Write methods read and write data in a variety of formats. For streams that support seeking, use the Seek and SetLength methods and the Position and Length properties to query and modify the current position and length of a stream.

Some stream implementations perform local buffering of the underlying data to improve performance. For such streams, the Flush method can be used to clear any internal buffers and ensure that all data has been written to the underlying data source or repository.

Calling Close on a Stream flushes any buffered data, essentially calling Flush for you. Close also releases operating system resources such as file handles, network connections, or memory used for any internal buffering.

If you need a stream with no backing store (also known as a bit bucket), use Null.

Notes to Implementers

When implementing a derived class of Stream, you must provide implementations for the Read and Write methods. The asynchronous methods BeginRead, EndRead, BeginWrite, and EndWrite are implemented through the synchronous methods Read and Write. Similarly, your implementations of Read and Write will work correctly with the asynchronous methods. The default implementations of ReadByte and WriteByte create a new single-element byte array, and then call your implementations of Read and Write. When deriving from Stream, if you have an internal byte buffer, it is strongly recommended that you override these methods to access your internal buffer for substantially better performance. You must also provide implementations of CanRead, CanSeek, CanWrite, Flush, Length, Position, Seek, and SetLength.

Do not override the Close method, instead, put all of the Stream cleanup logic in the Dispose method.

TopicLocation
How to: Read Text from a File.NET Framework: Programming Fundamentals
How to: Write Text to a File.NET Framework: Programming Fundamentals
How to: Read Text from a File.NET Framework: Programming Fundamentals
How to: Write Text to a File.NET Framework: Programming Fundamentals
How to: Write Text to a File

Silverlight

Supported in: 5, 4, 3

Silverlight for Windows Phone

Supported in: Windows Phone OS 7.1, Windows Phone OS 7.0

XNA Framework

Supported in: Xbox 360, Windows Phone OS 7.0

For a list of the operating systems and browsers that are supported by Silverlight, see Supported Operating Systems and Browsers.

Any public static (Shared in Visual Basic) members of this type are thread safe. Any instance members are not guaranteed to be thread safe.

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