Chapter 5

Streaming Your Own Classes

In This Chapter

arrow Streaming a class to a text file

arrow Getting the most out of manipulators

arrow Writing your own manipulators

The C++ stream classes can read and write all sorts of goodies, such as integers, characters, strings, floating-point numbers, and Boolean variables. But sooner or later, being able to stream one of your own classes (like the following) would be nice:

  MyClass x;cout << x << endl;

Now C++ has a good reason not to have done this already: The compiler and library can’t predict on their own how you want to stream your class. What should cout write? The name of the class followed by the values of the public member variables? Or maybe just the private member variables? None of the above?

Therefore you should make the class streamable. In this chapter, we show you how to do it. But keep in mind that you have (at least) two separate reasons why you may want to make a class streamable:

  • To provide a format for writing the object to a text stream.
  • To save the information in an object so you can read it back in at a later date, thereby reconstructing the object. A class with this feature is called a persistent class.

We cover both topics ...

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