Join the Discussion
ASCII only allows for 128 different characters and 32 of those are allocated to control characters leaving only 96 actual displayable characters that can be used. Manyof the world's languages use characters that do not fit within this small group. There are also a lot of special symbols used in specialized areas such as mathematics. To cater for this much larger range of characters in a standard way, the Unicode character set was developed. This matches the ASCII characters for the first 128 but provides a way of specifically identifying over 16 million different characters. All of the characters you are ever likely to need can be found somewhere in the Unicode charts. There are three different ways of specifying that a web page should display unicode characters. These are utf-8, utf-16, and utf-32. All three allow all characters to bbe used, the only difference is that the utf-8 will use a single byte for each character within the first 256 and will only use two or four bytes per character for those that need it while utf-16 will use at least two bytes per character and utf-32 will always use four bytes per character.