String Encoding

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Strings have no use without knowing encoding. String encoding has a messy history. 8-bit encoding only provided a sound system for english speakers.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Informaiton Interchange)

Old standard for string encoding. Maps each character to a bit sequence. Now incorperated into Unicode.


Unicode is a 16-bit code, but it doesn't just map bits to characters. A letter maps to a code point. U+0639 is a code point, U means unicode plus a hex value. This information needs to be stored in bits still.


This code point could be stored in say two bits. The order of the bits is declared in the unicode byte order mark (FF FF or FF FE).


Another system for storing string of Unicode code points in 8-bits. This solves issue of wasted storage for english, and code points are encoded in just two hex values, exactly like ASCII and ANSI.

Ruby Strings

Strings use UTF-8