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Web Developer Resource Index: Character Encoding

Character Encoding is a method of representing human languages (characters, letters, digits, symbols, punctuation) using numbers stored at the machine level (in binary). Conceptually this idea predates computing substantially—consider Morse code for instance.

There’s an old joke: “the nice thing about standards is there are so many to choose from.” This is no joke when it comes to character sets. There are a dizzying array to list. The one most people, at least Americans, are familiar with, is ASCII, which is a very basic set consisting of 128 (7 bits) characters, 95 of which are printable. The others are so-called “control” characters.

While that’s fine for a simple language like English (simple at least in terms of the character set), but what about something like Japanese that has thousands of characters (and several sets)?

Recently a new standard encoding system has emerged that can represent both simple (and be backwardly compatible) and complex languages. This is Unicode, and for the Web to function on an international stage of players, its time is now.

Perhaps now someone would like to guess what language I’m using (and what the meaning is) for that silly Unicode button over in the left sidebar.

Updated: Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 @ 11:56 PM EST

Data Formats:Character Encoding {0}(22)[67]



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Last updated: Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 @ 11:56 PM EST [2008-12-25T04:56:00Z]   home

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