Difference Between UTF-8 and UTF-16 (With Table)

Profoundly computers deal with numbers, and every character, punctuation, alphabets, symbol, etc., are assigned by the different numbers in the computer. Before the invention of the Unicode character, there were numerous methods to assign a number to different characters and more one of which is character encoding. Unicode is formally a method that provides unique numbers to the different characters besides of different platforms or devices or applications or languages.

Utf-8 vs Utf-16

The difference between UTF-8 and UTF-16 is that UTF-8, while encoding for any character of English or any number, uses 8 bits and adopts the 1-4 blocks while comparatively on the other hand UTF-16, while encoding the characters and numbers, uses 16 bits with the implementation of 1-2 blocks. Also, the file size of the UTF-8 oriented requires less space, whereas the UTF-16 oriented file is twice the size of the UTF-8.

UTF-8 stands for the Unicode Transformation Format 8 that uses 1-4 blocks implementation along with the 8 bits and identifies all the validated Unicode code points. The variable length of the UTF-8 is about 32 bits per character. The UTF-8 was formed by the two brilliant minds – Ken Thompson and Rob Pike in September 1992. It was created when they were busy creating the plan 9 operating system, and it took them a week to formulate it.

UTF-16 stands for the Unicode Transformation Format 16 that uses 1-2 blocks implemented along the 16 bits to express a code point. In simple terms, a minimum of 2 bytes is required by the UTF-16 Unicode to express a code point. UTF-16 also requires a variable length of up to 32 bits per character. UTF-16 was formed to overcome the accommodation of the number of code points.

Comparison Table Between Utf-8 and Utf-16

Parameters of ComparisonUtf-8Utf-16
File Size It is smaller in size.It is larger in size in comparison.
ASCII Compatibility It is compatible with ASCII.It is not compatible with ASCII.
Byte OrientationIt is byte-oriented.It is not byte-oriented.
Error Recovery It is good in recovering from the errors made.It is not as good as in recovering from the errors made.
Number of bytesIn minimum case, it can only use up to 1 byte (8 bits).In minimum case, it can use up to 2 bytes (16 bits).
Number of blocksIt adopts 1-4 blocks.It has adopted 1-2 blocks.
EfficiencyMore efficientLess efficient
PopularityIt is more popular on the web.Doesn’t get much popularity.

What is Utf-8?

UTF-8 stands for the Unicode Transformation Format 8. It implements the 1-4 blocks with the 8 bits and then identifies all the valid code points for the Unicode. The UTF-8 can formulate maximumly up to 2,097,152 code points. The first 128 code points are encoded by the single block consisting of 8 binary bits, and they are identical to the ASCII characters.

The brilliant minds behind the creation of UTF-8 are Ken Thompson and Rob Pike. They created it while planning 9 operating systems in the year 1992 September. It was created in a week, and the International System of Organization (ISO) is ISO 10646. Also, it is the most widely accepted encoding format, and nearly 95% of all web pages are created based on the UTF-8 format.

What is Utf-16?

UTF-16 stands for the Union Transformation Format 16. The implementation of the one or two bytes of the 16-bits blocks to express each of the code points. In simple terms, for representation of each code point in the UTF-16 requires a minimum of up to 2 bytes. The variable length of the UTF-16 expresses about 1,112,064 code points.

The UTF-16 file size comes twice the size of the UTF-8. Because of this, the UTF-16 is considered less efficient. The UTF-16 is not byte-oriented, and also it is not compatible with ASCII characters. The UTF-16 is the oldest encoding standard in the field of the Unicode series. The various application of the UTF-16 is the use in Microsoft Windows, JavaScript, and Java programming internally.

Main Differences Between Utf-8 and Utf-16

  1. The file size of the UTF-8 is smaller, while comparatively, on the other hand, the file size of the UTF-16 is twice the size of the UTF-8 file. 
  2. The UTF-8 shows compatibility with the ASCII characters encodings, while on the other hand, the UTF-16 doesn’t show any compatibility with the ASCII characters.
  3. The UTF-8 encoding is byte-oriented, while comparatively, on the other hand, the UTF-16 encoding is not byte-oriented. 
  4. The UTF-8 encoding is quite good in recovering from the errors made, while comparatively, on the other hand, the UTF-16 encoding is not as good in recovering from the errors made. 
  5. The UTF-8 uses at least one byte (8 bits) while comparatively, on the other hand, the UTF-16 uses at least one or two-byte (16 bits). 
  6. UTF-8 implements about 1-4 blocks, while comparatively, on the other hand, UTF-16 implements about 1-2 blocks. 
  7. The UTF-8 is more efficient while comparatively, on the other hand, the UTF-16 is less efficient. 
  8. The UTF-8 is more popular on the web, while comparatively, on the other hand, the UTF-16 doesn’t gain too much popularity on the web.

Conclusion

The Unicode standards were formulated to give unique numbers to the different characters. In the field of Unicode standards, the UTF-16 is the oldest Unicode encoding that came into existence. With so many features of the Unicode standards, the UTF-8 and UTF-16 both differ in many ways from each other.

UTF-8 is the Unicode standard that was created by Ken Thompson and Rob Pike in the year 1992 September. It is the most widely accepted Unicode format, and majorly all the web pages are designed based on the UTF-8 encoding scheme.

In contrast, the UTF-16 is another encoding format. The file size of the UTF-16 file is twice the size of the UTF-8. Also, because of the large file size, the efficiency of the UTF-16 is less. It is also incompatible with ASCII characters.

References

  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/1345206.1345222
  2. https://www.hjp.at/doc/rfc/rfc3629.html
  3. https://www.proquest.com/openview/75078d4ece0a06f8cddd6cc9a719e8f9/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2030006
  4. https://www.hjp.at/doc/rfc/rfc2781.html
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