ASCII or American Standard Code for Information Interchange is a 7-bit character code that was introduced by American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is used by most U.S. personal and workstation computers.

Brief History of ASCII#

The American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or ASCII code, was created in 1963 by the "American Standards Association" Committee or "ASA", the agency changed its name in 1969 by "American National Standards Institute" or "ANSI" as it is known since.

This code arises from reorder and expand the set of symbols and characters already used in telegraphy at that time by the Bell company.

At first only included capital letters and numbers. In 1967 lowercase letters and some control characters were added forming what is known as US-ASCII. (the characters 0 through 127) So with this set of only 128 characters was published in 1967 as standard, containing all you need to write in English language.

In 1981, IBM developed an extension of 8-bit ASCII code, called code page 437, in this version were replaced some obsolete control characters for graphic characters. Also 128 characters were added, with new symbols, signs, graphics and latin letters, all punctuation signs and characters needed to write texts in other languages, ​​such as Spanish. This became known as Extended ASCII.

IBM included support for code page 437 in the hardware of its model 5150, known as "IBM-PC" personal computer. The operating system of this model, the "MS-DOS" also used this extended ASCII code. The character codes may show differently on different computers. (ie OSX will show the extended codes differently than a "PC".

ASCII is the traditional name for the encoding system; the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) prefers the updated name US-ASCII, which clarifies that this system was developed and based on the typographical symbols predominantly in use in the United States.

Other Common Alphanumeric Codes#

  • EBCDIC or "Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code" was developed by IBM for use on their mainframe computers.
  • Unicode is a character coding system designed to support the worldwide interchange and display of written texts of diverse languages by providing a Code Point for every character.

More Information#

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