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Programming Windows®, Fifth Edition by Charles Petzold

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Wide Characters and C

To a C programmer, the whole idea of 16-bit characters can certainly provoke uneasy chills. That a char is the same width as a byte is one of the very few certainties of this life. Few programmers are aware that ANSI/ISO 9899-1990, the "American National Standard for Programming Languages—C" (also known as "ANSI C") supports character sets that require more than one byte per character through a concept called "wide characters." These wide characters coexist nicely with normal and familiar characters.

ANSI C also supports multibyte character sets, such as those supported by the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean versions of Windows. However, these multibyte character sets are treated as strings of single-byte values in which some ...

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