ASCII stands for
American Standard Code for Information Interchange.
Pronounced "as-kee," the adoption of the ASCII character coding scheme was
an important milestone in the history of the computing industry.
ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)
Something that computer programmers take for granted today, ASCII codes
were developed during the early 1960s as a standard that assigns numeric
values to letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and other characters.
The uppercase letter "A," for instance, is represented by the number 65,
while the lowercase letter "a" is represented by the number 97. The
number "0" is represented by the number 48, while the blank space
character is represented by the number 32. The first 32 numbers are
reserved for non-printable control codes such as the null character (0),
audible bell (07), backspace (08), horizontal tab (09), and form feed (12).
Before the development of ASCII, communication between different computers
was difficult or impossible. Each computer manufacturer used its own
digital coding scheme for representing characters. IBM, for example,
used a 6-bit character coding scheme derived from the binary coded decimal
(BCD) system of Hollerith-designed punch cards, while UNIVAC used a 6-bit
variant of the US Army's FIELDATA coding system. So in May, 1961,
Bob Bemer of IBM requested that
the American National Standards Institute, develop a standard coding
scheme to enable diverse computers to communicate with each other.
After lengthy debate, ASCII was published in 1963, shortly before the IBM
System/360 computer was released. In the interim, the IBM 360
development team had designed an extended BCD coding system (EBCDIC), and they unfortunately didn't have enough lead time to
modify the operating system and peripherals for ASCII prior to the
System/360's 1964 release. Many years later, in 1981, IBM
introduced their Personal Computer that used the ASCII coding standard,
and ASCII has now been widely adopted by most computer
manufacturers. Today, most personal computers and their peripherals
use ASCII characters.
Below, you will find a table listing the standard ASCII codes, as used
by computer programmers in the United States of America.