(also character encoding, charset, character map)
Character set definition
A character set is a collection of characters used to represent text in a computer system. It includes letters, numbers, symbols, and other characters that a computer can display or process. Character sets define how each character is represented by a unique numeric code, allowing computers to store and manipulate text data consistently. Various character sets are available, with some designed to support specific languages or scripts, while others support multiple languages.Character sets are important for ensuring cross-platform compatibility and interoperability.
Character set examples
- ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): A widely used character set that includes 128 characters, representing the English alphabet, digits, punctuation marks, and control characters.
- Unicode: A universal character set designed to represent virtually all characters used in written languages worldwide. It can accommodate over a million unique characters and includes characters from various scripts, symbols, and emojis.
- ISO-8859: A series of character sets developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to support various languages, including Latin-based, Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, and Hebrew scripts.
Choosing and using character sets
- Select a character set that supports the languages and scripts required for your project.
- Use UTF-8 encoding for web pages because it is compatible with a wide range of characters and is supported by most browsers and systems.
- Ensure consistency in character set usage across your projects to avoid encoding issues or garbled text.