The Base64 module provides for the encoding (#encode64, #strict_encode64, #urlsafe_encode64) and decoding (#decode64, #strict_decode64, #urlsafe_decode64) of binary data using a Base64 representation.
A simple encoding and decoding.
require "base64" enc = Base64.encode64('Send reinforcements') # -> "U2VuZCByZWluZm9yY2VtZW50cw==\n" plain = Base64.decode64(enc) # -> "Send reinforcements"
The purpose of using base64 to encode data is that it translates any binary data into purely printable characters.
If you’re wondering what the base64 format is used for, here are some examples:
HTTP Basic authentication: encode your username and password as one string, and add it as a header of an HTTP request. When a page requiring basic authentication gets called from a browser it results in a generic Username/Password dialog from that browser. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_access_authentication
Encode the binary content of images to base64 and embed it in XML documents, for example in web services
For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base64
Just note that the encoded (character) data is about 30% larger than un-encoded (binary) data.