Unicode and ASCII are the character coding standards that are largely used in the IT sector. Unicode is the Information Technology standard that is used for encoding, representation, and handling of texts in the writing systems whereas ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) represents text in computers such as symbols, digits, uppercase letters, and lowercase letters.
They depict text for the telecommunication devices and computers. ASCII encodes only several letters, numbers, and symbols whereas Unicode encodes a large number of characters.
Unicode vs ASCII
The difference between Unicode and ASCII is that Unicode is the IT standard that represents letters of English, Arabic, Greek (and many more languages), mathematical symbols, historical scripts, etc whereas ASCII is limited to few characters such as uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and digits(0-9).
Unicode can be called the superset of ASCII because it encodes more characters than ASCII. The latter term usually functions by converting the characters to the numbers because it is easier for the computer to store numbers than alphabets.
Comparison Table Between Unicode and ASCII (in Tabular Form)
|Parameters of Comparison||Unicode||ASCII|
|Definition||Unicode is the IT standard that encodes, represents, and handles text for the computers, telecommunication devices, and other equipment.||ASCII is the IT standard that encodes the characters for electronic communication only.|
|Abbreviation||Unicode is also known as Universal Character Set.||American Standard Code for Information Interchange is the full form of ASCII.|
|Function||Unicode represents a large number of characters such as letters of various languages, mathematical symbols, historical scripts, etc.||ASCII represents a specific number of characters such as uppercase and lowercase letters of English language, digits, and symbols.|
|Utilizes||It uses 8bit, 16bit, or 32 bit to present any character and ASCII is subordinate of Unicode.||It uses 7bits to present any character. It does so by converting the characters to numbers.|
|Space occupied||Unicode supports a large number of characters and occupies more space.||ASCII supports 128 characters only and occupies less space.|
What is Unicode?
Unicode is the IT Standard that is used for encoding, representing, and handling the text for the computers, telecommunication devices, and other equipment. It is maintained by the Unicode Consortium and stands for Universal Character Set.
It encodes a wide range of characters such as texts in various languages (also the bidirectional texts such as that of Hebrew and Arabic that has the right to left scripts), mathematical symbols, historical scripts, and many more things.
Unicode operated three kinds of encodings namely UTF-8, UTF-16, and UTF-32 that used 8bits, 6bits, and 32 bits respectively. It has been largely used in recent technologies such as programming languages (Java, etc) and modern operating systems.
Unicode supports a large number of characters and occupies more space in a device and therefore ASCII forms part of Unicode. The ASCII is valid in UTF-8 that contains 128 characters.
What is ASCII?
ASCII is the encoding standard that is used for character encoding in electronic communications. It is largely used for the encoding of the English alphabets, the lowercase letters (a-z), uppercase letters (A-Z), symbols such as punctuation marks, and the digits (0-9).
American Standard Code for Information Interchange or ASCII encodes 128 characters predominantly in the English language that are used in modern computers and programming.
ASCII utilizes 7bits of the data to encode any character and therefore is the less space occupant. ASCII was largely used for character encoding on the World Wide Web and is still used for modern computer programs such as HTML.
ASCII encodes any text by converting the text into numbers because the set of numbers is easier to store in the computer memory than the alphabets as a language. Broadly this process itself is called encoding.
Main Differences Between Unicode and ASCII
- Unicode is the IT standard that encodes, represents, and handles text in the computers whereas ASCII is the standard that encodes the text (predominantly English) for electronic communications.
- Unicode is abbreviation for Universal Character Set whereas ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
- Both the terms differ from each other in the context of the function. Unicode is the encoding standard that encodes a large number of characters such as texts and alphabets from other languages (even bidirectional texts), symbols, historical scripts whereas ASCII encodes the alphabets of English language, upper case, and lower case letters, symbols, etc.
- Unicode used 8bit, 16bit, or 32bit for encoding large number of characters whereas ASCII uses 7bit to encode any character because it comprises of only 128 characters.
- Larger space is occupied by Unicode because it is the superset of ASCII whereas ASCII requires less space.
The Unicode or the Universal Character Set is the coding standard that encodes, represents, and handles texts for the telecommunication services and other equipment whereas ASCII or American Standard Code for Information Interchange is the standard code that is used for encoding in the electronic communication.
Unicode covers encoding of the texts in different languages (even those with the bidirectional scripts such as Hebrew and Arabic), of symbols, mathematical and historical scripts, etc whereas ASCII covers encoding of characters of English language which includes the upper case letter (A-Z), the lower case letters (a-z), digits (0-9) and symbols such as punctuation marks.
Unicode utilizes three kinds of encoding namely that of 8bit, 16bit, and 32bit whereas ASCII operates by utilizing 7bit to represent any character. Therefore, Unicode is also the superset of ASCII and occupies more space than it.
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