El American Standard Code for Information Interchange or ASCII, thanks to its acronym in English, is the name given to the scharacter encoding system.
In this way, sharing information is much easier, because the files that we see on one computer are seen in the same way on another, and in this way, there is no loss of information.
What is ASCII code?
ASCII code is a code that arises from the need to exchange information without the distortion of it from one computer to another.
Let us remember that at the beginning of the electronic age, computers could be coded individually, since the cost and demand allowed it, but as the computer boom grew, and, in addition, the demand for them became more complicated.
A system was required which had all the devices so that the same files could be read equally on one computer and on another regardless of the distance.
In this way, the exchange of information is much more effective and efficient.
The ASCII code is divided into several types, depending on the function that you want to use and what must be programmed by the specialist to work correctly.
It is important to know how this type of language and process coding work in computing if you want to delve a little deeper into this topic, since ASCII is something basic for the proper functioning of the devices.
Initially, in the 60s, this ASCII code was established on a seven-bit basis, allowing for the reservation of 128 characters, including:
- ASCII code control characters including the first 31
- ASCII code printable characters being the following up to 128.
In this way, not only could write and view files on a computer, but there was the possibility of sending commands to it through the keyboard and that a specific action will be carried out thanks to the ASCII Code.
To satisfy slightly more complex needs, years later extended ASCII codes were developed, which include tildes (´) , umlauts (ü) and other symbols in the system.
The symbols that we use daily are assigned in this table from which they are generally part of the ASCII code, as well as the functions that are executed every minute.
This table is quite simple, but you do not need to know in depth what the codes assigned to each action are so that they can be correctly execute the ASCII code.
To understand it, it is very easy, the ASCII code is universal, almost all devices have them and thanks to this, we can understand the information that is transmitted.
In this way, the use of the codes that are part of ASCII is very varied, assigned with different numbers and they provide us with the possibility of seeing what we want to communicate without changing the information., so a file you create on one device will look the same when you open it on another.
How do they help us with communication? Well, regardless of the language you speak, an "a" is the same in Latin America and Europe as it is in ASIA and the United States.
Precisely, the need to see exactly the same thing that we create on one device on another is what makes printable codes possible, because before them, what you saw on one computer was not the same as what you would see on another.
The passing of this information from the key that we press when typing a letter until it is reflected in the computer is represented by one of these printable and extended codes of ASCII code through numbers that have been previously assigned in a table.
What types of ASCII code are there?
In principle, there are three types of ASCII code that cover the general operation of the device, not only its control but also signs and symbols, among these codes we have:
Control ASCII – Table of characters and symbols
They are the ones that help us to execute commands without the need to sometimes use keys and that, in addition, facilitate the connection between devices in general.
Likewise, also thanks to these control codes we can link the keys with what we see on the screen, that is, when we use the DELETE key, a code has been assigned to it that is executed in a matter of milliseconds in order to perform the action.
For us to understand better, the key with the Windows logo or the word "Menu" when pressed, opens the start bar in which all the applications are seen and if we move with the arrows towards the one we want and give the “Enter” key, the application will run and all this is thanks to the control codes that we talked about.
In short, the control codes are those that allow us to perform functions on the computer without executing them directly, for example, if we want to send a document to print with the Ctrl + Alt function, and the print dialog automatically appears.
Not only this, but they are used for many other commands, such as the "Esc" key to exit YouTube full screen mode, for example.
Or also the “Delete” key that each time you press delete what is selected or delete what is to the right of the paragraph or the numerical equation that you are using, as opposed to the delete key which deletes digits to the left.
It does not only happen with special keys that execute actions within the computer system, but with the letters and numbers that are in the hardware such as the keyboard on a computer or the touch selection on a screen so that the ASCII code is possible, with extended characters and printables.
These extended and printable characters include letters, numbers, as well as symbols that are used by the common user.
ASCII Printable – Table of characters and symbols
We speak then of the printable characters of this code, since those that we can see and are part of the files, They are the ones that we can visualize correctly.
These printable codes are assigned, with each of the symbols and letters and correspond to a numerical character that is processed internally by the computer where they are being processed.
There are, contrary to the previous one, the printable codes that are those that we can read on the computer, that is, the letters and numbers that are projected in a universal way, only changing the language if necessary.
These characters are represented by a numeric character which is represented by the ASCII code, that is, a letter represents a number in computer programming language.
However, these numbers are not what are projected on the screen, so a lowercase or uppercase letter corresponds to a separate number so that today you could be reading this article.
By virtue of the foregoing, and knowing the need to engage in good language and good spelling Whatever language was chosen or spoken, it was necessary to codify letters and numbers in a universal way so that the information would not be distorted.
Extended ASCII – Table of characters and symbols
They are intended to supply the most "advanced" functions of all these codes.
The ASCII code has extended characters that respond to a slightly more complex need.
These extended codes are also arranged in a table and are represented like the previous two by means of a numerical code.
From putting an apostrophe, an umlaut, a tilde, punctuation marks, exclamation marks, among other symbols and signs, they are possible thanks to the extended characters that are part of this ASCII code.
It is even part of relevant and important symbols and signs for a scientific equation such as the addition sign “+” or division sign “-“.
What is it used for?
To make it simple and fluid, the ASCII code is used to numerically represent each character that is used either to write, execute an action or to delegate a special character.
That is, the ASCII code is a numerical translation or adaptation that the user uses to be able to manage the system at his convenience, since these computer systems only handle binary codes as a language of operations that represent their logical operations.
In this way, each character, letter, sign, space, symbol and even each blank space has a numerical assignment that corresponds to the ASCII code and these are easily represented in a table.
Since its creation in 1967, in which it was perfected little by little until achieving its last update in 1986, the ASCII codes have a perfect global operation in each of the devices that are mentioned.
As it progressed, variants of these codes were created, such as the extended codes.
To achieve optimal system communication through printable, extended and control codes, it was necessary to code each and every one of the existing machines individually, since the updated devices were already decoded.
We have discussed that ASCII codes are frequently used attached to lines of text, but nevertheless they are also intrinsically related to scientific equations because many of the signs and symbols present there are part of the extended codes.
Just as printing is made easier by a control character that is assigned to Ctrl + P, which automatically opens a window for selecting the details and properties to print a sheet, the ASCII code makes many more functions possible.
Among them, the functions of printable and extended characters stand out, since these are the ones that They allow us a much more fluid language and communication since they are the ones that make possible the use of letters, signs and symbols.
How is the ASCII code used?
Programming is a computer language which is quite complex.
You are going to learn to use ASCII code depending on the operating system you have, however, you are already doing it without even realizing it.
Thus, the commands that we execute through your computer are ASCII code commands that have been previously programmed by specialists so that you can have a much more fluid and efficient communication and you can find them all ordered in a table.
There are ways to exploit these ASCII codes and they are done by encoding some words manually, either through the keyboard or through the system. For example:
It is possible that you can insert commands that are not on the keyboard just by using the character map, it is not necessary that you know the content of the table, for this you click the start button.
Once a window appears, you are going to write there “charmap” in the search field and you are going to click on the proposed result and then a map of printable and extensible characters that you have not seen before will appear.
It depends entirely on the function that you are going to carry out, since if you want to carry out any extra function you have to check the code of the function that you are going to use in the table.
But this will depend on each operating system we are talking about.
The process is usually a little different because the control codes change and you have to know the hex code that you require, because normally the other two previous operating systems use decimals.
To have the window open to write one of the control codes, you have to press the Ctrl + Shift + U keys so that after opening the search bar you enter the hexadecimal code that is in the table.
You know what the code to use is going to be through a table in which each code you require is written.
It is not necessary to have to memorize each code, with practice you will learn the most basic and then you don't even need to see the codes.
If you are on a device with an iOS operating system like the one used by Mac, we are going to use the keyboard shortcuts.
- To completely exit any program on Mac you will need the Exit command, either with a shortcut or with the menu in the application because with the red cross (x) it does not exit applications completely.
- However, if you press CTRL + CMD + space, a keyboard will appear.
- If you press Shift you will see all the letters in uppercase
- If you press Alt you will be able to access all the special characters, if it does not appear click on a symbol in the upper right and select show keyboard viewer.
Necessity in current computing
Extended ASCII code characters are basic to the proper functioning of a computer, as are printables and control characters.
In this way, it was agreed that all the programmers would use the same computer language because The need for all computers and devices to have the same language was born.
It is practically impossible to use a computer without doing part of the ASCII code, since most computers are compatible with it, this makes the transfer of information is done in an efficient and controlled manner.
If this code had not been created since the 60s, it would be very difficult for you to be reading us, or we could write this article, nor would it have good spelling and punctuation if not for the development of extended codes.
Since thanks precisely to this, it allows us to encode combinations of characters and symbols provided by the ASCII code.
You probably already know that the binary language it is the one that makes it possible for the computer to execute actions and that also translates the instructions that we give to the device, whatever it may be.
Likewise, the ASCII code allows us to communicate with the computer through our native language, whatever it may be. without having the need to know how it works internally.
Yes, every time you type a letter or hit the "Delete" key, there are codes that are processed in milliseconds to fulfill the commands.
These commands are normally the result of the introduction of orders of any kind or text to the computers, and in general, the user ignores all the process behind for your order to be executed, since the system does it automatically.
If you need more information on how it is used or what the ASCII codes are, there is a table that is responsible for specifying each code as it is used, either decimal or hexadecimal codes.
This differentiation of codes is going to be given by the operating system you use, be it Windows, Mac or Linux. You can see it in the table above.
Despite that has been constantly updated since the 60's, the ASCII code has not gone entirely unnoticed.
Many people continue to use it because it is the quintessential code to use that represents the decryption of all computer systems, so that we can share information effectively and efficiently and also, they are universally arranged in a table.
In conclusion, the computer language that thousands of programmers developed and perfected makes it possible today to write and perceive information clearly. no matter what computer you're on.
The American Standard Code for Information Interchange, or ASCII according to its acronym in English, is a set of characters and symbols in a table that are present in all devices so that the information is clear and not be distorted on different devices.
These codes that you will see in the table today are part of everything we know today on the Internet and thanks to this effort by programmers we can communicate.