Masking mark

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The masking character or the escape character ( loan translation from English escape character ) is a particular character , which prevents the subsequent character from executing program as a function of character is detected. Masking characters are generally necessary in text-based formats if function characters can also be part of the actual content, and therefore e.g. B. commonly used in HTML , CSV , EDIFACT and registration files.


When a program reads a file, certain actions of the program can be controlled depending on function characters.

If a function character occurs in the file, which should not be interpreted as a function character, i.e. as a command, but as a date , then it is preceded by a masking character.

The program, the function characters and the masking characters are coordinated with one another: the functions are only executed if the program and file belong together. On the other hand, there are quasi-standards ; z. B. the backslash (\) is a common masking character, so that the following examples can be formulated:

\ " double ASCII - quotes if it has a controlling importance
\ ' single ASCII quotation marks, if this has a controlling meaning.

The masking character itself is a function character. So it is not shown, but controls the meaning of the following character. In order to still be able to enter the masking character as a data character, it is usual to deprive it of its function by placing another masking character in front of it. If two such characters appear one after the other in the text , the data block is extended by a masking character.


\\ a backslash, as masking characters often have to be masked themselves.

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