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Programming Windows®, Fifth Edition by Charles Petzold

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Chapter 2. An Introduction to Unicode

In the first chapter, I promised to elaborate on any aspects of C that you might not have encountered in conventional character-mode programming but that play a part in Microsoft Windows. The subject of wide-character sets and Unicode almost certainly qualifies in that respect.

Very simply, Unicode is an extension of ASCII character encoding. Rather than the 7 bits used to represent each character in strict ASCII, or the 8 bits per character that have become common on computers, Unicode uses a full 16 bits for character encoding. This allows Unicode to represent all the letters, ideographs, and other symbols used in all the written languages of the world that are likely to be used in computer communication. ...

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