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Special Edition Using Microsoft® Visual Basic® .NET by Jeff Spotts, Brian Siler

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Working with File Streams

Every file on your hard drive is just a sequence of characters. Text-based files are usually human readable and the characters can be edited in a text editor, such as Notepad. Binary files, on the other hand, contain data used by a program. If you try to open a binary file (such as an EXE file) in Notepad, the displayed text will not make any sense. This is because each character represents a byte of data in a format known only to the user of the file. In the case of an EXE file, the bytes are used by the operating system to run a compiled program. (As we will soon see, XML provides a good way to store structured data in readable text format.)

→ For more on the Byte and other data types, see in Chapter 6, “Understanding ...

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