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UTF-8 (UCS Transformation Format - 8-bit) is a multibyte character encoding for Unicode. UTF-8 is like UTF-16 and UTF-32, because it can represent every character in the Unicode character set. But unlike UTF-16 and UTF-32, it possesses the advantages of being backward-compatible with ASCII. And it has the advantage of avoiding the complications of endianness and the resulting need to use byte order marks (BOM). For these and other reasons, UTF-8 has become the dominant character encoding for the World-Wide Web, accounting for more than half of all Web pages. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) requires all Internet protocols to identify the encoding used for character data, and the supported character encodings must include UTF-8. The Internet Mail Consortium (IMC) recommends that all eâ€‘mail programs be able to display and create mail using UTF-8. UTF-8 is also increasingly being used as the default character encoding in operating systems, programming languages, APIs, and software applications. (Excerpt from Wikipedia article: UTF-8)
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