A Brief History of Character Encoding

Richard Gillam - Language Analysis Systems, Inc.

Intended Audience: Software Engineers, Systems Analysts
Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate

Unicode didn't just spring fully-grown from the forehead of Zeus; it has many historical antecedents and its design is firmly grounded in existng practice. In fact, to understand Unicode fully, it's necessary to understand where it came from. This talk will trace the history of character encoding in information technology from its roots in the Morse telegraph code through to Unicode. It will cover the Morse and Baudot telegraphy codes, IBM's BCD punched-card code, ASCII and EBCDIC, the ISO 2022 encoding scheme, the ISO 8859 family of encodings, and various other encodings, ending with the early history of Unicode and ISO 10646.