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getting the size of an input stream

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You can use istreambuf_iterators to automagically load an entire istream into a buffer without needing to manually resize it. Ex:

std::istream & istr = get_an_istream_somehow();
std::vector<char> buffer( (std::istreambuf_iterator<char>(istr)),
(std::istreambuf_iterator<char>()) );

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