Introduction to Character
Any unit of information in the form of natural language is called character. These characters form strings to pass information from one language to another for various processes. Nowadays, 8 bits is the size of a character whereas, in the past, 4 or 6 bits have been used. Mostly, It is used to represent the encoding structures so that they can be mapped to different sequences or numerical codes to make them more meaningful. It is not misinterpreted with any information, and hence this set of elements has numerical codes respective to the character representation.
What is Character?
- In computer words, It can be the representation of anything, let it be comma, punctuation, or next line, or any symbol which has a measurable size in bits. Its definition was first given by ASCII and represents any kind of symbol in the terminology. Even the word computer has characters. It is otherwise called char and can represent texts, numbers, or symbols used in the codes or languages.
- Here, something to note is that all the characters should belong to any program or at least to the OS. This makes the character have an identity, and it will not throw any error when called in the language or any program. They are represented in different ways, such as if they are texts or letters, they should be represented within single quotes, while if they are numbers, It will not use any quotes to represent the same.
- It will have meaning, and meaningless letters or symbols are not part of the character. Each character represents the flow of a program and is important to ensure efficient working of the program or coding in the system. Even space is a character, and if graphics-based applications are considered, all the punctuations and symbols on the screen are characters.
- It is the visual representation of the information through any letter or number, or symbol passed in the program or the stored data to run successfully in the system. All the information is displayed on the system, and hence we can say that characters store and display the information of any program related to it.
Importance of Character
- The entire implementation of characters of any type in a program is done with the help of character. With memory, anything can be stored in the character as it has ASCII values. This helps in storage of any type, and hence the special character’s storage finds away. In a program, if it is represented as char and two values are given in a single quote, it becomes invalid. Also, numbers are never given inside quotes as this also becomes invalid.
- Though most are in letters and numbers, there are instances where the presence of special characters alters the performance of the entire texts or numbers. This changes the meaning of the entire sequence, and hence the presence of specials is acknowledged in the coding programs. This is called the escape sequence and represents a different meaning to the entire context. Some language offers additional support to manipulate the code, and this also helps to use the code differently.
- Now coming to the most common coding language of today, python does not support any characters, and it represents the group in the system. This is called strings and have various advantages in using them. A special representation of char is not needed in python as it takes every character without any representation. Escape sequences are used here, and it helps the coding in many ways.
- They are represented in Object Oriented Programming and manipulated so that they can be used for texts or drop-down lists as they cannot be avoided in the programming language. It can be used in combination and is called combining characters. This is represented with the help of Unicode by making it equivalent to the standards of Unicode. Here it is easy to differentiate between coded or encoded characters and thus represent the Unicode numerical identifiers.
Types of Character
There are mainly three character types in the coding standards. They are dynamic, static, and non-printable characters.
Dynamic characters are those that change during the course of action, be it in coding or any other processes. They have the ability to take different values and change the result so that a relevant result is formed in the end as per the user. Changes are dynamic, and it helps the code to change the value repeatedly.
Those characters that do not change the value and remain the same throughout the coding program or any process are called static. Hence, it is easy to set a value to a static, and as it does not change, the value can be called anywhere in the program to give the desired result. The code has to be changed to change the value of statics.
Some are not printed on the computer screen, and this is highly represented with the help of the escape key. Even the null character is not represented with any keys, but it is important to denote the end of a program or a string in the computer program. Other non-printable keys are the enter key and tab key.
We can say that letters, symbols, emojis, and numbers are types as each represents the representation, and one cannot be replaced for another. Symbols cannot be avoided in a program, and each symbol is represented by keys so that each is recognizable in its own ways. Smileys or emojis come under the Unicode standard and have a specific size for each smiley.
They are important to any program or process in the computer, and understanding it becomes the basis for understanding any program or the computer hardware. All the processes are represented with the help of characters and recognized to modify the codes in the program.
This is a guide to What is Character. Here we discuss the three Character Types in the coding standards along with the Importance of Character. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more –
- Wildcard Characters
- R Programming Language
- Best Programming Languages
- What is a Programming Language?