Files and streams

Coming from a *nix background, Python treats a file as a data stream: each file is read and stored as a sequential flow of bytes. Each file has an end-of-file (EOF) marker denoting when the last byte of data has been read from it. Frequently, programs will read a file in pieces rather than loading the entire file into memory at one time. When the end-of-file marker is reached, the program knows there is nothing further to read and can continue with whatever processing it needs to do.

When a file is read, such as with a readline() method, the end of the file is shown at the command line with an empty string; empty lines are just strings with an end-of-line character. The following screenshot shows how this looks:

EOF example ...

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