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Posted: June 2, 2023 | by Michael Bright

Unicode is a universal character encoding standard that aims to represent every character from every writing system used by humans. It provides a unique numeric value, called a code point, for each character, regardless of the platform, program, or language being used. Unicode enables consistent and accurate representation of text, ensuring interoperability and multilingual support in digital systems.

The Unicode standard assigns a unique code point to each character, including alphabets, ideographs, symbols, punctuation marks, diacritical marks, and control characters. These code points are typically represented in hexadecimal form (e.g., U+0041 for the Latin capital letter “A”).

Unicode supports a vast number of characters, currently ranging from U+0000 to U+10FFFF, which covers a wide range of scripts, including Latin, Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and many others. The standard also defines character properties and rules for text handling, such as sorting, normalization, and bidirectional text support.

Unicode has several encoding schemes that define how the code points are represented in binary form. The most commonly used encoding scheme is UTF-8 (Unicode Transformation Format 8-bit), which represents each code point as a sequence of 8-bit units. UTF-8 is backward compatible with ASCII, as the first 128 code points in Unicode correspond to the ASCII character set. Other encoding schemes include UTF-16 and UTF-32, which use 16-bit and 32-bit units, respectively.

The adoption of Unicode has become widespread across operating systems, programming languages, web technologies, and international standards. It allows software and systems to handle multilingual text, facilitate global communication, and ensure consistency and accuracy in text representation across different platforms and languages.

Unicode continues to evolve, with new characters and updates introduced periodically to accommodate new writing systems and characters as they are identified and standardized.

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