A Brief Introduction to File Compression
File Compression, as the name suggests, is a method of reducing the total size of a file, as much as needed. Since the early 1970s, we find evidence of mathematical algorithms being made use of by computer scientists to go through every single line of code, for deducing methods of reducing the total sizes of files. The advent of the internet saw a huge boom in the File Compression Industry. Owing to the fact that it is easier to handle files of a smaller size, the need for improved compression schemes increased that could decrease the size of any particular file as much as needed.
Types of Compression
Compression can be divided into two major categories, namely :
Lossless Compression looks to find lengthy code strings and replaces them using shorter strings of code. This method allows for the creation of the picture again without any difference from the original. Program Files can only use this kind of Compression.
Lossy Compression uses algorithms that scour the entire program code searching for lines of code that can be removed without bringing much in the visual representation of the image. Mainly used on multimedia files, this compression makes the treated file look visually identical to the original uncompressed file but at the code level, there may be stark differences with huge chunks of code removed from the original file.
The importance of compression in this digital age
There are a number of different functions which cannot be performed in the absence of File Compression:
- Storage Issues — Compression is responsible for reducing the storage space required to store a particular file. As a result, files that are originally bigger can be stored in smaller spaces reducing memory requirement(s) drastically. Word files, and the like, have the chance to have ninety percent of their original size reduced.
- Speed of transmission — The time frame for a particular file to be sent and/or received over the internet, varies directly with the size of the file. As a result, to reduce the time for file transmission, compression is used to make files smaller in size. This increases transmission speed and saves time which can be incredibly important in the present market situation(s).
- Backing up of data — Groupings of files of similar categories can be put together to form archive files. Owing to the huge number of files grouped in one, archive files desperately need file compression to reduce their required storage space and turn it into one single moderately sized file. So backup files(computer, smartphone, etc.), are always turned into one single archive file by the operating system.
In the present digital age, File Compression is everywhere as the internet has invaded every corner of the earth, and storage space has turned into currency. It finds varied use in a plethora of different avenues, one of the main examples being Digital Television, wherein digital files need to first undergo compression before being transmitted.