readpartial(*args) public

Reads at most maxlen bytes from the I/O stream. It blocks only if ios has no data immediately available. It doesn’t block if some data available.

If the optional outbuf argument is present, it must reference a String, which will receive the data. The outbuf will contain only the received data after the method call even if it is not empty at the beginning.

It raises EOFError on end of file.

readpartial is designed for streams such as pipe, socket, tty, etc. It blocks only when no data immediately available. This means that it blocks only when following all conditions hold.

  • the byte buffer in the IO object is empty.

  • the content of the stream is empty.

  • the stream is not reached to EOF.

When readpartial blocks, it waits data or EOF on the stream. If some data is reached, readpartial returns with the data. If EOF is reached, readpartial raises EOFError.

When readpartial doesn’t blocks, it returns or raises immediately. If the byte buffer is not empty, it returns the data in the buffer. Otherwise if the stream has some content, it returns the data in the stream. Otherwise if the stream is reached to EOF, it raises EOFError.

r, w = IO.pipe           #               buffer          pipe content
w << "abc"               #               ""              "abc".
r.readpartial(4096)      #=> "abc"       ""              ""
r.readpartial(4096)      # blocks because buffer and pipe is empty.

r, w = IO.pipe           #               buffer          pipe content
w << "abc"               #               ""              "abc"
w.close                  #               ""              "abc" EOF
r.readpartial(4096)      #=> "abc"       ""              EOF
r.readpartial(4096)      # raises EOFError

r, w = IO.pipe           #               buffer          pipe content
w << "abc\ndef\n"        #               ""              "abc\ndef\n"
r.gets                   #=> "abc\n"     "def\n"         ""
w << "ghi\n"             #               "def\n"         "ghi\n"
r.readpartial(4096)      #=> "def\n"     ""              "ghi\n"
r.readpartial(4096)      #=> "ghi\n"     ""              ""

Note that readpartial behaves similar to sysread. The differences are:

  • If the byte buffer is not empty, read from the byte buffer instead of “sysread for buffered IO (IOError)”.

  • It doesn’t cause Errno::EWOULDBLOCK and Errno::EINTR. When readpartial meets EWOULDBLOCK and EINTR by read system call, readpartial retry the system call.

The latter means that readpartial is nonblocking-flag insensitive. It blocks on the situation IO#sysread causes Errno::EWOULDBLOCK as if the fd is blocking mode.

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