#binary-data #binary-encoding #binary #byte #percent #ascii-text

no-std tick-encoding

A simple encoding scheme to encode binary data into ASCII strings

3 releases

0.1.2 Jan 29, 2024
0.1.1 Jan 29, 2024
0.1.0 Jan 28, 2024

#1807 in Encoding

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MIT OR Unlicense

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Crates.io docs.rs Minimum Supported Rust Version Tests

Tick Encoding is a simple encoding scheme that encodes arbitrary binary data into an ASCII string, implemented as a Rust crate. It's primarily designed for stuffing usually-ASCII data into JSON strings. It's very similar to percent encoding / URL encoding, but with a few key differences:

  • Uses backtick (`) instead of percent (%) as the escape character
  • One canonical encoding for any binary data
  • One consistent set of characters that require escaping
  • Less characters need escaping


Install the tick-encoding crate as a Rust dependency by running cargo add tick-encoding.

// Encode the input into a tick-encoded ASCII string
let encoded = tick_encoding::encode("hello, world! 🙂".as_bytes());
assert_eq!(encoded, "hello, world! `F0`9F`99`82");

// Decode it back into a UTF-8 string
let decoded = tick_encoding::decode(encoded.as_bytes()).unwrap();
let decoded_str = std::str::from_utf8(&decoded).unwrap();
assert_eq!(decoded_str, "hello, world! 🙂");

Cargo features

The tick-encoding crate includes the following Cargo features:

  • std (default): Enables functionality using Rust's standard library. Disable to build in #![no_std] mode.
  • alloc (default): Enables functionality that depends on the global allocator. Disabling this will greatly limit what functions you can use!
  • safe: Avoid unsafe code. By default, a small amount of unsafe code is used (all checked with extensive unit tests, property tests, and Miri checks). Enabling this feature switches to purely safe code, and enables the #![deny(unsafe_code)] lint at the crate level.

Encoding scheme

The encoding scheme for Tick Encoding is straightforward:

  • All printable ASCII bytes except backtick (`) are encoded as-is (0x21 to 0x5F, and 0x61 to 0x7E)
  • ASCII tabs, newlines, carriage returns, and space characters are also encoded as-is (0x09, 0x0A, 0x0D, and 0x20)
  • Backtick (`) is encoded as two backticks (0x60 becomes 0x60 0x60)
  • All other bytes are encoded as backtick followed by two uppercase hexadecimal characters

Decoding just reverses the process. To ensure that decoding and re-encoding produces the same output string, the encoded string is validated while decoding:

  • The encoded string can only contain printable ASCII characters, tabs, newlines, carriage returns, and spaces
  • A backtick must be followed by a backtick or two uppercase hexadecimal characters