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[[Category:Encyclopedia]]'''Unicode Transformation Format, 8-bit representation''' or UTF-8 is a particular encoding of [[Unicode]] code-points into eight-bit octets. It was originally developed for [[Bell Labs]]' [[Plan 9]] operating system by Ken Thompson (inventor of [[Unix]]) and Rob Pike in 1992. It is widely used on Unix-like systems and for XML documents.

Some advantages of UTF-8:

  • byte-order independent
  • subsumes 7-bit ASCII
  • one can detect the start of characters
  • one can scan characters in both directions forward and backward
  • can encode code-points at least 32-bits long


  • characters do not have a fixed size. One needs to walk an entire string to determine the [[String Character Length|character length of a string]].
  • biased towards European scripts. Japanese code points are more compactly stored in other encodings, such as UTF-16 or UCS-2.