prev up next   top/contents search

comp.lang.c FAQ list · Question 12.1b

Q: I have a simple little program that reads characters until EOF, but how do I actually enter that ``EOF'' value from the keyboard? I see that EOF is defined by <stdio.h> to be -1; am I supposed to enter -1?

A: If you think about it, what you enter can't be -1, because ``-1'' is two characters, and getchar is reading one character at a time. It turns out that the value of EOF as seen within your C program has essentially nothing to do with the keystroke combination you might use to signal end-of-file from the keyboard. EOF is essentially a signal to your program that no more characters will be available from that input, for whatever reason (end of a disk file, user is done typing, network stream has closed, I/O error, etc.).

Depending on your operating system, you indicate end-of-file from the keyboard using various keystroke combinations, usually either control-D or control-Z. The operating system and stdio library then arrange that your C program receive the EOF value. (Note, however, that there are various translations involved along the way. Under normal circumstances, you should not explicitly check for the control-D or control-Z value yourself, nor will you find that the <stdio.h> macro EOF is defined to be either of these values.)

prev up next   contents search
about this FAQ list   about eskimo   search   feedback   copyright

Hosted by Eskimo North