In this article we will deal with Base96, Base128, Base256 and Base512. We will examine whether they exist, and if so, what they can be used for, and why they are not as widespread as Base64.
What is Base96? Does it exist?
Base96 encoding is an intriguing concept that represents binary data in an ASCII string format by translating it into a radix-96 representation. This encoding scheme uses digits 0-95, effectively translating a set of data into ASCII characters. For instance, the space character (ASCII $20) represents 0, “!” represents 1, and so on.
However, such a scheme is not commonly used or recognized.
What is Base128? Does it exist?
Base128 is a data representation scheme that employs 128 characters. It employs the initial 128 out of 256 characters that are encodable within a single byte. Therefore, while not the most memory-efficient encoding and generating strings that are less user-friendly, it does represent a subset common to both Latin-1 and UTF-8 character sets.
Although Base128 exists as a theoretical concept, it is rarely used in practice. One reason for this is that as the base increases, so does the number of bits required to represent a character. Base64, for example, uses 6 bits to represent a character, whereas Base128 uses 7 bits. Base128 requires more bits to represent the same amount of data, resulting in larger encoded data sizes.
Furthermore, some of those 128 characters are unprintable (most notably those below codepoint 0x20). As a result, they cannot be reliably transmitted as a string over the wire. Furthermore, if you go above codepoint 128, you may encounter encoding issues due to different encodings used by different systems.
What is Base256? Does it exist?
Base256 is a concept that builds upon the idea of base64 encoding, aiming to provide an even denser representation of data.
It encompasses all 256 characters encodable with a single byte, making it the most memory-efficient encoding. However, it generates strings that are less user-friendly and, when saved to storage, it remains efficient only as long as the Latin-1 encoding is maintained during file writing; otherwise, its size will substantially increase.
Like Base128, Base256 also exists, but it is not widely used. The reasons for its lack of popularity compared to Base64 are the same as for Base128.
What is Base512? Does it exist?
Base512 is a theoretical concept in data encoding that extends the idea of Base64 encoding. Base512, on the other hand, would use a larger character set, theoretically consisting of 512 unique symbols, as opposed to Base64.
While the concept of Base512 is appealing, it is important to note that it is not widely implemented or used in real-world applications. The main challenge is to create a character set with 512 distinct symbols and to find practical ways to encode and decode data using this large set. Because of these complexities, Base512 is more of a theoretical experiment than a widely used encoding scheme.