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Just Java™ 2 by Peter van der Linden

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Charsets and Endian-ness

A character set, also known as an “encoding,” is the set of bit patterns used to represent a set of characters. ASCII is one popular encoding. EBCDIC is a family of character sets with regional variations used on IBM mainframes. Unicode is a third encoding. Before describing the character sets available to Java, we need to explain “big-endian” and “little-endian” storage conventions.

Big-endian storage

Endian-ness refers to the order in memory in which bytes are stored for a multi-byte quantity. The term is a whimsical reference to the fable Gulliver's Travels, in which Jonathan Swift described a war between the Big-Endians and the Little-Endians, whose only difference was in where to crack open a hard-boiled ...

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