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HTML Unicode (UTF-8) Reference


The Unicode Consortium

The Unicode Consortium develops the Unicode Standard. Their goal is to replace the existing character sets with its standard Unicode Transformation Format (UTF).

The Unicode Standard has become a success and is implemented in HTML, XML, Java, JavaScript, E-mail, ASP, PHP, etc. The Unicode standard is also supported in many operating systems and all modern browsers.

The Unicode Consortium cooperates with the leading standards development organizations, like ISO, W3C, and ECMA.


The Unicode Character Sets

Unicode can be implemented by different character sets. The most commonly used encodings are UTF-8 and UTF-16:

Character-set Description
UTF-8 A character in UTF8 can be from 1 to 4 bytes long. UTF-8 can represent any character in the Unicode standard. UTF-8 is backwards compatible with ASCII. UTF-8 is the preferred encoding for e-mail and web pages
UTF-16 16-bit Unicode Transformation Format is a variable-length character encoding for Unicode, capable of encoding the entire Unicode repertoire. UTF-16 is used in major operating systems and environments, like Microsoft Windows, Java and .NET.

Tip: The first 128 characters of Unicode (which correspond one-to-one with ASCII) are encoded using a single octet with the same binary value as ASCII, making valid ASCII text valid UTF-8-encoded Unicode as well.

Tip: All HTML 4 processors support UTF-8, and all HTML 5 and XML processors support both UTF-8 and UTF-16!


The HTML5 Standard: Unicode UTF-8

Because the character sets in ISO-8859 was limited in size, and not compatible in multilingual environments, the Unicode Consortium developed the Unicode Standard.

The Unicode Standard covers (almost) all the characters, punctuations, and symbols in the world.

Unicode enables processing, storage, and transport of text independent of platform and language.

The default character encoding in HTML-5 is UTF-8.

Below is a list of some of the UTF-8 character sets supported by HTML5:

Character set Decimal Hexadecimal
C0 Controls and Basic Latin 0-127 0000-007F
C1 Controls and Latin-1 Supplement 128-255 0080-00FF
Latin Extended-A 256-383 0100-017F
Latin Extended-B 384-591 0180-024F

If an HTML5 web page uses a different character set than UTF-8, it should be specified in the <meta> tag like:

Example

<meta charset="ISO-8859-1">



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