TLDR: Character encoding is the process of assigning numbers to characters so that they can be stored, transmitted, and transformed using computers. It allows different languages to be represented in digital form.
Character encoding is all about how computers understand and represent text characters. In order for a computer to store, transmit, or transform text, it needs to assign numbers to each character. These numbers are called "code points" and they make up a "code space" or "character map". Early character codes could only represent a limited set of characters, but modern computer systems can handle more complex character codes like Unicode, which can represent characters from many different languages.
The history of character codes goes back to the early days of telegraphy, where manual and hand-written encoding systems were used. Morse code, for example, used a system of short and long signals to represent characters. As technology advanced, new character codes were developed, such as the Baudot code and the ASCII code. These codes were used to represent characters in early computer systems.
Today, there are many different character encoding systems, including Morse code, Baudot code, ASCII, and Unicode. Unicode is the most widely used encoding system and it can represent characters from almost all written languages. It is a universal standard that allows for the interchange of text in electronic form across the world.
Character encoding can be a complex topic, but it is essential for computers to understand and process text. It allows us to communicate and share information in different languages, making the digital world a more inclusive and diverse place.