5/23/08

Explain Pipes for IPC

There are two types of pipes for two-way communication:
anonymous pipes
named pipes.
Anonymous pipes enable related processes to transfer information to each other.
An anonymous pipe is used for redirecting the standard input or output of a child process so that it can exchange data with its parent process.

To exchange data in both directions (duplex operation), you must create two anonymous pipes. The parent process writes data to one pipe using its write handle, while the child process reads the data from that pipe using its read handle.
Similarly, the child process writes data to the other pipe and the parent process reads from it. Anonymous pipes cannot be used over a network, nor can they be used between unrelated processes.

Named pipes are used to transfer data between processes that are not related processes and between processes on different computers.

A named-pipe server process creates a named pipe with a well-known name or a name that is to be communicated to its clients. A named-pipe client process that knows the name of the pipe can open its other end, subject to access restrictions specified by named-pipe server process. After both the server and client have connected to the pipe, they can exchange data by performing read and write operations on the pipe.

Anonymous pipes provide an efficient way to redirect standard input or output to child processes on the same computer. Named pipes provide a simple programming interface for transferring data between two processes, whether they reside on the same computer or over a network.

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