Encryption and decoding are used in communications, data storage and security, as well as in encryption mechanisms. Let’s learn more about these two terms, from the meaning of encoding and decoding to the differences between them.
Read also: 5 commonly used encryption algorithms
What is coding
Encryption literally means changing the body of information from one system to another in the form of a code. A code is a system of symbols, signs, or letters used to represent a secret meaning.
The main purpose of coding is to make the data secure and suitable for consumption by different users using different systems. The idea is to make the data readable and available to all end users. Coding can be likened to the efficient translation of text from Hebrew, for example, into English, making the information digestible for many users.
Without character encoding, websites will display text in a very different way than expected. Improper coding affects the readability of the text, which can also lead to search engines not displaying the data correctly or incorrectly processing the data entered by the engine.
When you convert the temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit or the rupee to dollars, the initial value remains the same. They are simply represented in a different form.
In the computer world, coding works the same way. Computers convert data from one form to another. This is done to save storage space or make transmission more efficient.
An encoding example is when you convert a large .WAV audio file to a small .MP3 file that you can easily send to your friends via email. The files are encoded in different formats, but will play the same song.
What is Decoding
Decoding is the process of unlocking the contents of an encrypted file that has been sent. Media files, such as movies and music, are usually encoded so that they do not take up much bandwidth during transmission. They need to be translated back to their original form in order to view videos or listen to music. It’s like receiving a locked gift box. You need to open it to find out what’s inside.
Among people, communication begins with thoughts, which are then encoded in messages. Now this message can be in the form of spoken or written words or even nonverbal gestures. People can also send messages through various communication channels, such as chat or phone and face-to-face conversations. The person receiving the message translates it into thoughts, allowing them to interpret and gather meaning.
Let’s say, for example, that Jon needs Niki’s help to prepare the financial statements. Jon coded this thought by sending Niki an e-mail with the words “Can you check if the numbers in this document are correct?” After receiving the email, Niki translates or interprets the message using her own thought process. He thought about what Jon meant. Thus, encoding and decoding are part of human nature.
Another example in computers, encoding and decoding are also internal processes that allow communication. The data must be converted to a string of one and zero so that it can be sent to another computer. This process is called “serialization“, Which ensures that the recipient can convert or decode the data back to the original format.
Let’s go back a bit if you’re confused about how and why computers convert messages to one and zero. Remember that computers can only understand numbers. When you type facebook [.] Com in your browser, for example, your computer needs to search for the appropriate IP address of the website so that it can load the right page.
Specifically, computers only understand binary code, which is a two-symbol system. The two symbols are “0” and “1”. Therefore, all data that enters the computer requires to be encoded in a series of one and zero. Decoding is required to convert the data back to the original format.
Now back to the first example. When Jon sends an e-mail to Niki, Jon’s computer encodes the message into computer bytes, which are then sent as a series of uni and zeros to Niki’s computer. When Niki receives the email, her computer converts those and zeros to their original format. The same thing happens when you send videos and pictures.
The difference between encoding and decoding
Once you understand the two terms above, let’s look at the comparison or difference between encoding and decoding.
|Basis of comparison||ENCODE||DECODE|
|Definition||Coding is the technique of converting data between two types according to a set of protocols or methods||Decoding is the reverse process of encoding.|
|Conversion type||Analog to digital converter||Digital to analog converter|
|Example||pqr to PQR (lowercase to uppercase)||PQR in pqr (uppercase and lowercase)|
|Communication||Data abstraction when sending messages. This can be done using words, icons, photos, symbols, and sounds.||Decoding can be described with the receiver interpreting the message and only visiting the knowledge of what normally interacts with the origin.|
|Media||Encoding is often used to reduce the size of audio and video data.||Decoding benefits from similar codecs for reconstructing original documents derived from encoded data files.|
So, simple coding is the process of translating data between two formats according to a set of rules or formulas. For example, you can encode “abc” to “ABC” using the lowercase to uppercase rule. Decoding is a reverse process. you can decode “ABC” into “abc” using the same set of rules.
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