Base64 is a binary-to-text encoding scheme that is commonly used to represent binary data, such as images, in a format that can be transmitted over text-based protocols like HTTP or email. It allows binary data to be represented as a string of ASCII characters.
The Base64 encoding scheme converts every three bytes (24 bits) of binary data into a group of four ASCII characters. These characters are selected from a set of 64 different characters (hence the name "Base64"), which typically includes uppercase and lowercase letters, digits, and a few symbols.
To convert an image to Base64, the binary data of the image is first split into chunks of three bytes. Each three-byte chunk is then converted to four ASCII characters using a specific mapping table. This process is repeated for all chunks until the entire image is encoded.
The resulting Base64 string can be transmitted or stored as a text string. To decode the Base64 string back into its original binary form, the reverse process is performed. Each group of four ASCII characters is converted back into three bytes of binary data, and these chunks are combined to reconstruct the original image.
Base64 is widely used in various applications, including email attachments, data URIs in web pages, and API responses. It provides a way to represent binary data as text, enabling its seamless integration into text-based systems.