Wide characters are much simpler than multibyte characters. They
are simply characters with more than eight bits, so that they have room
for more than 256 distinct codes. The wide character data type,
wchar_t, has a range large enough to hold extended character
codes as well as old-fashioned ASCII codes.
An advantage of wide characters is that each character is a single data object, just like ordinary ASCII characters. Wide characters also have some disadvantages:
Wide character values
0177 are always identical
in meaning to the ASCII character codes. The wide character value zero
is often used to terminate a string of wide characters, just as a single
byte with value zero often terminates a string of ordinary characters.
If your system supports extended characters, then each extended character has both a wide character code and a corresponding multibyte basic sequence.
In this chapter, the term code is used to refer to a single
extended character object to emphasize the distinction from the
char data type.
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