Unicode is a computing industry standard that defines and encodes all characters, glyphs, and symbols used in digital data storage and information interchange. Its goal is to support the interchange, processing, and display of the world’s writing systems. It contains over 128,000 distinct character codes, making it the largest standardized collection of characters available to computers and software engineers. Unicode enables computers to understand and represent the text, languages, symbols, and emojis used in many of today’s applications and digital products.

Unicode was developed in the late 1980s under the auspices of the Unicode Consortium. The Consortium, a non-profit organization, was established in 1991 and is responsible for the technical specification of the standard as well as its ongoing development and vendors. Unicode is structured onto the codes that information is stored in computers, enabling them to understand and store the vast range of data available and used today. This standardization has enabled globalization efforts to succeed by enabling the use of multilingual text without the need for manual scripts or external software.

Text encoded in Unicode is often referred to as UTF-8 (Unicode Transformation Format-8) or UTF-16 (Unicode Transformation Format-16). UTF-8 is a variable-length encoding using 8-bit code units, and UTF-16 is a fixed-length encoding using 16-bit code units. UTF-8 is the dominant form of text encoding for online applications, although UTF-16 is also in wide use.

Unicode is integral to a range of cybersecurity protocols, particularly those that involve the transmission and interpretation of texts from different languages. Character encodings, such as Unicode, provide the underlying support for secure communication across different systems, as well as a standardized means for computers to reference digital resources.

Unicode is widely deployed in a range of applications and technologies, including HTML5, CSS, XML, JSON, TOML, ICU, JavaScript, Bash, and Java. The Unicode standard is maintained and preserved on platforms such as Microsoft Windows, Apple Macintosh, macOS, and iOS, Google ChromeOS, and the Linux kernel.

In summary, Unicode is a computing-based standardized system for representing and encoding characters, symbols, and glyphs. It is a widely deployed standard that plays an important role in supporting global digital communications, multilingual text encoding, and security protocols.

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