Java IO Usages

1 Overview

The classes about I/O group in package. Java's IO package involves reading raw data from a source and writing of processed data to a destinaiton.
Here list some most typical sources and destinations of data
+ Files
+ Pipes
+ Network Connections
+ In-memory Buffers(e.g. arrays)
+, System.out, System.err

All Java IO classes can be separate by input, output,being byte based or character based.

2 InputStream and OutputStream

The and class are the base classes for all Java.IO input and output stream.

2.1 InputStream

The read() method defined in InputStream returns a int contianing the byte value of byte read and it will be -1 if thre is no more data can be read.

InputStream input = new FileStream("data.txt");
int data;
while((data =!=-1){
    //process the byte data

2.2 OutputStream

Just oppisite against InputStream, the OutputStream provides the write() method writing bytes to destinations.

// ture: append
// false: overwrite
OutputStream output = new FileStream("data.txt", true);
output.write("Hello world!".getBytes());

3 File Stream

FileInputStream class makes it possiable to read content of a file as a stream of bytes. It is a subclass of InputStream. Besides the read() methods, read(byte[]) can read data into byte array.
FileOutputStream class just overrides all methods in OutputStream class.

3.1 Try With Resources

Some exceptions will occur after opening inputStream and make resource releasing unproperly. Try-with cluase will solve this headache problem.

    InputStream input = new FileInputStream("data.txt");
    // some procession
}catch(Exception e){
    // handle the exception
// More Simplicity
try(InputStream input = new FileInputStream("data.txt)){
    //some procession
}catch(Exception e){
    handle the exceptions
}//without finally cluase

4 Decorated Input/Output Stream

The package designers take Decorator Pattern strategy to solve various I/O situations. See Decorator Pattern.

4.1 Buffer Stream

Buffering can speed up IO quite a lot as avoiding reading or writing only one byte at a time. It reads or writes a large block a time.

InputStream input = new BufferedInpuStream(
                    new FileInputStream("data.txt"));
InputStream output = new BufferedOutputStream(
                    new FileOutputStream("data.txt", false));

4.2 Data Stream

The DataInputStream class enables you to read Java primitives(byte, int, float etc.) for an inputStream instead of only raw bytes. DataOutputStream also make it possiable write Java primitives to an outputStream, rather than raw bytes.

// output
DataOutputStream  output = new DataOutputStream(
                           new FileOutputStream("data.dat"));
output.writeInt(32); output.writeFloat(42.1F); output.writeUTF("hello world");
// Input
DataInputStream input = new DataInputStream(
                        new FileInputStream("data.dat")):
System.out.println(String.format("%d,%f,%s", input.readInt(), input.readFloat(),
input.readUTF()); // 32,42.1,hello world

4.3 PushbackInputStream

Sometimes you can only determine how to interpret the current byte only by a few ahead bytes. The PushbackInputStream enables you to push read bytes back into the stream. These byte will be read next time you call the read.

PushbackInputStream input = new PushbackInputStream(
                            new FileInputStream("data.txt"));
byte[] buffer = new byte[2];
        //process only buffer[0] byte
        //process those buffer[0] and buffer[1] bytes

4.4 Object Stream

Serialization is a vital feature to load or dump objects. The ObejctInputStream and ObjectOutputStream are used to serialze.

//implement the Seriablizable interface
class Person implements Serializable{
    public String name;
    public int age;
    public Person(String name, int age){ = name;
        this.age = age;
ObjectOutputStream output = new ObjectOutputStream(new              FileOutputStream("Person.dat"));
        output.writeObject(new Person(25,"Snail"));

ObjectInputStream input =new ObjectInputStream(new FileInputStream("Person.dat"));
        Person person = (Person)input.readObject();
        System.out.println(String.format("Name: %s, Age: %d",,person.age));

5 Piped Stream

Pipes in Java IO provides the ability for two threads running in the same JVM to comunitcate. Therefore pipes can also be sources or destinations of data.

final PipedOuputStream output = new PipedOutputStream();
final PipedInputStream input = new PipedInputStream(output);
Thread thread1 = new Thread(new Runable(){
     public void run(){
        output.write("Hello world, pipe".getBytes());
Thread thread2 = new Thread(new Runable(){
    public void run(){
        int data;

6 Reader and Writer

Reader class is the base class for all Reader subclasses in java IO API. The read() method of Reader return an int which represents the char value. If read() returns -1 meaning that no more data can be read. That is, -1 as int value not as byte or char value. InputStreamReader class wraps an InputStream to turn the byte based input stream into a character based reader.

InputStream inputStream = new FileInputStream("data.txt");
Reader inputReader = new InputStreamReader(inputStream);

Writer class is the base class for all Writer subclass in the Java IO API. OutputStreamWriter class wraps an OutputStream to turn the byte based output stream into a character based writer.

OutputStream output = new FileOutputStream("data.txt");
Writer outputWriter = new OutputStreamWriter(output,"UTF-8");

7 Reader and Writer's SubClasses

7.1 FileReader and FileWriter

Reader fileReader = new FileReader("data.txt");
// read character
Writer fileWriter = ne FileWriter("data.txt");
//write character

7.2 PipedReader and PipedWriter

PipeWriter pipedWriter = new PipedWriter();
PipedReader pipedReader = new PipedReader(pipeWriter);
// write reader and write procession

7.3 BufferedReader and BufferdWriter

The BufferedReader has one extra method though, the readLine() method. This method can be handy once you want to process input line by line.

BufferedReader reader = new BufferedReader(new FileReader("data.txt"));
String line;
    //process line


The three streams, System.out and System.err are also common sources or destinations of data. And they are initialized by the Java runtime when JVM starts up.

8.1 is an InputStream which is typically connected to keyboard input of console programs.

BufferedReader br = new BufferredReader(new InputStreamREader(;
String line;
while((line = br.readLine())!=null){
    //parse the line

8.2 System.out

System.out is PrintStream and outputs the data you write to it to console. You can set new System stream.

OutputStream output = new FileOutputStream("data.txt");
PrintStream printout = new PrintStream(output);
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