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Unicode: the Rosetta Stone of Tech

Written by Cory Healy on July 07, 2017

How do all languages, characters, and symbols of the world unite across our devices? Unicode!

Unicode is like the Rosetta Stone of languages and characters worldwide. It allows for usability and recognition of language across all modern technological platforms seamlessly.

The secret is that every character is given a special number, and the singular Unicode standard helps weed out discrepancies. The latest standard of Unicode contains a list of over 120,000 characters across 135 modern scripts, historic scripts, symbols sets globally. The standard comes with a set of code charts for visual reference, an encoding method, and display orders for right-to-left and left-to-right scripts—even emojis are included in the Unicode Standard!

Before Unicode existed, hundreds of different encoding systems assigned numbers for characters. However, no singular system before Unicode was able to contain enough characters that worked for all languages and their corresponding symbols, characters, punctuations, technical symbols and more. Different computing systems also conflicted with one another, providing the same number for different characters.

The Unicode standard has been adopted by major leaders like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and more. It allows for global unity and for languages to be used for all computing systems.

And who maintains the Unicode Standard, you ask? Why none other than the Unicode Technical Committee. Hosted in multiple locations in California and Washington for 2017 and 2018 calendar year, it's primarily based around Silicon Valley. It's essential for all apps and sites to be interpreted across all languages, thus enabling any project you push into the public to be seen worldwide!

For a deeper dive into Unicode and programming, check out this link to learn more.