As far as I know Unicode itself is not an encoding system. It is just a standard that assigns code point to characters. Quoting from Wikipedia..

Unicode can be implemented by different character encodings.

So what are these options in Internet Explorer and Firefox?

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Does Unicode implicitly mean UTF16? If so, is it BE or LE?

and while we are at it, is UTF-32 not supported by Firefox & Internet Explorer?


Unicode means "Windows's" encoding system (no, this is not invented by Microsoft, but widely used in its products), i.e. UCS-2 (Universal Character Set).

In the past it was not so bad decision (slow processors have less problems with fixed length of characters), but today is UTF-8 prevalent for very good reasons.

No, UTF-32 is not supported - neither in Internet browsers, nor in another applications because its obvious disadvantage - 4 bytes for every character.

(Of course, they may be some exceptions.)

  • Chrome seems to support it. – Koray Tugay Apr 1 '17 at 17:37
  • @KorayTugay - Google wants to support everything regardless of its practical usefulness. Pure competition's reasons sometimes. – MarianD Apr 1 '17 at 17:44
  • I see, thanks for the great answer. Is UCS-16 same with UTF-16? – Koray Tugay Apr 1 '17 at 17:47
  • Oh, I made a mistake (and I corrected it in my answer) - not UCS-16 (as 16 bits) but UCS-2 (as 2 bytes). No, UCS-2 is a character set (every character as 2 bytes) while UTF-16 is an extension of UCS-2 and it is a variable-length coding scheme (2 to 4 bytes for a character). On the other hand, for majority of the 65,536 characters (the UCS-2 range) they have identical code points, so they are largely equivalent. – MarianD Apr 1 '17 at 19:53

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