The Ultimate Guide to Character Encoding

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In the world of software testing, it’s best to familiarize yourself with all the necessary terms and codes. It will help ensure that you perform the best assessment possible before you release your software product on the market. Learning about character codes and the encoding method is one of them.

If you haven’t heard of character encoding or are still confused about how it works, we have your back. In this article, we’ll give you the ultimate guide to character encoding. Plus, top reasons why you need it in your software testing industry.

What Does Character Encoding Mean?

Character encoding is basically a process of using character sets to create computer commands. They tell computers to analyze and interpret how the uploaded data as numbers, symbols, and letters. It’s done by using a certain numeric value and assigning it to the number, symbol, or letter.

In the past, each character code with an electrical or optical graph could only represent a segment of characters in written form. It’s sometimes only restricted to a capital letter, punctuation, and numeral. But with modern computer systems these days, digital presentation of data gives the opportunity to use more elaborate codes like Unicode characters.

Most Common Types of Character Encodings

Because of the advancement of our technology, there are already plenty of character encodings available. But below are the popular coding types that are widely used in by different testers and programmers.

ASCII Encoding

American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or ASCII, is a type of character encoding used for communicating electronically. The codes of this type are a representation of telecommunication equipment, computer texts, and other devices. When you check the standard ASCII chart, you’ll see 128 unique values that represent numbers, letters, and symbols.

The ASCII characters include both upper and lower case letters from A to Z, numbers from 0 to 9, and the most used symbols. It’s important as this encoding type is considered a coding standard in terms of data processing. Besides that, ASCII encoding also provides universally accepted characters that are great for data communications. Some of its most common types are CHR code and ASC code.

Unicode Encoding

Unicode is another particular encoding type that many programmers also use. The reason is that it has unifying characters and supports almost all existing languages in the world. A Unicode character might come in two forms, including the 8-bit and the 16-bit. It will depend on the type of data being uploaded. 16-bit is the standard or default type where each character is 16 bits wide.

Unicode code points can be mapped into bytes through UTF-8, UTF-16, or UTF32. Plus, another incredible thing about Unicode encoding is its extension mechanism that enables encoding a character set of as many as 1,000,000 characters.

Most traditional encoding systems have faced a common problem. It’s that they allow the bilingual computer instead of multi-lingual computer processing that allows the processing of arbitrary scripts that are mixed. On the other hand, Unicode has the power to represent characters in an abstract way. It leaves the computer with visual rendering that consists of style, shape, font, or style. The challenging process of encoding becomes easier through this method.

Character Encoding Tips to Remember

Character encoding knowledge comes with plenty of advantages that will be useful in testing software and encoding the right way. However, it can be challenging to understand and navigate, especially as a beginner. So, to make character encoding a lot easier and more effective, we have gathered tips you should keep in mind. You can see them below.

Always Adjust the Encoding

Whether you will write or read data, make sure to always adjust the encoding. This is not only applicable to XML and HTML but also to other files.

Use the best Possible Encoder.

To make sure that you’re encoding all the data the right way, it’s best to use an encoder that is complete. You might think that you’re just reading and writing each code point properly. However, you also have to give attention to what is inside your code.

Write Based on the File

When you’re typing codes, always do it based on the file. Don’t ever neglect to specify the encoding, no matter how sure you are that your file won’t have characters out of the 1-127 range.

In Conclusion

Knowing the basics of character encoding is essential as a tester and programmer. It will let you conduct your tasks the correct way. So, take advantage of it and do all the other available methods to meet your objectives. Consider all the expert tips we shared with you today and apply them to what you will do. Then, you can surely do a hassle-free software testing.

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