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An encoding defines a mapping between bytes and text. A sequence of bytes allows for different textual interpretations. By specifying a particular encoding (such as UTF-8), we specify how the sequence of bytes is to be interpreted.

For example, in HTML we normally declare a character encoding of UTF-8, using the following line:

<meta charset="utf-8">

This ensures that you can use characters from just about any human language in your HTML document, and they will display reliably.

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 Contributors to this page: vqrs, chrisdavidmills, klez, dzlabs
 Last updated by: vqrs,