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Network programming consists of writing programs which communicate with other programs in a computer network.

The communication among programs can be divided into connection-oriented and connectionless and it is defined by the communication protocols. Connection-oriented communications are described as communication sessions in which a connection among parts is established before data is transferred. On the contrary, connectionless communications consist of data transmission without a connection between the sender and receiver. The most common connection-oriented protocols are the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the Sequenced Packet Exchange (SPX). The most popular connectionless protocols are the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) and the Internetwork Packet Exchange (IPX).

In the connection-oriented communications, the communication parties have several roles. The part which is waiting for the incoming connection is called server; instead, the part which is initiating the connection is known as the client.

In connectionless communication, the server wait for the incoming packet and the client send the packet to the server.

Usually the communication client-server takes place on a computer network but sometimes both client and server are on the same system. During the client-server communication, a server host runs one or more server programs to share resources with clients. A client does not share resources but asks a server for content and functions. Applications which uses this type of communications are email, network printing and the World Wide Web.

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