BinHex is a protocol used to encode binary files so that the file in question contains nothing other than standard ASCII questions – 96 upper and lowercase characters as well as some control characters – and can then easily be transferred between different computers that may not otherwise share the same character set.
In order for the receiving computer to decode the file, it needs to run BinHex-enabled software, otherwise, the file will be unreadable.
Technipages Explains BinHex
BinHex is short for binary to hexadecimal, and the protocol premiered on the classic MacOS systems. Though it found use in multiple environments, it is most popular with mac users because the encoding is able to preserve macintosh’s multi-fork file format. A lot of other services at the time weren’t able to do this, which could lead to compatibility issues.
It’s worth noting that BinHex is not a compression format at all, and encoded files can easily end up being larger than the original source file. Because of this, files that have been encoded are often compressed afterwards, to make it easier to transmit them to different machines via the Internet.
Originally, BinHex used a hexadecimal encoding system, however as different generations of the protocol were released, it was eventually switched to something similar to uuencode, but with a change that supports the Macintosh file types. Despite its premiere in the original Mac operating system, it was originally written for a different system – the TRS-80, where it was supposed to be released as a stand-alone coding scheme.
Common Uses of BinHex
- BinHex is no longer actively in use although it still works.
- The use of BinHex made it possible to isolate files against possible corruption from certain types of software.
- Due to its popularity with MacOS users, BinHex was frequently updated, and multiple versions of it were ultimately published.
Common Misuses of BinHex
- BinHex is a binary encoding system used on all MacOS machines