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D - [Request suggestions] input / output research starting point

I'm interested in conducting extensive research on redesigning the 
input/output facility (not sure of technical terms). Harmed with google 
and a desire to become useful as a programmer, what are some of the 
topics I would be looking into or questions I need to be asking?

Of course I can grab a few open source implementations (printf, iosream, 
etc) and compare notes on the various implementations. Prior to doing 
this however, I'd like to know the theory behind it (what were the tools 
available to the designers of these libraries?). Basically I'd like to 
know how to write a single character to the screen or to a file if I had 
no printf(), or how how to get a single character from the keyboard if I 
had no scanf().

Feb 07 2004