Encoding something is (like was said before) changing the
way information or data is presented; though, it is not meant
to hide the meaning of the data. For example, in a URL, a
space is encoded as '%20'. That encoding is not meant to
protect or "make private" the data; rather, it is meant to
"encode" the data in that it can be understood by the recipient.
Encrypting information and/or data is a process that
obfuscates the data. In an encrypted URL (if such a thing
were to exist), the first space would be an 'a' and the
second space would be a '3' and the third space would be a
'-', etc., etc. (assuming a more powerful encryption
algorithm than char substitution). An encrypted piece of data is not meant
to facilitate communication, per se. Rather, it is
meant to guarantee certain attributes of the data like
the fact that it will only be read by privileged
So, in a nutshell, encoding is just a way two or more systems
designate as a way of communication (via character
substitutions, or XML tags, or whatever). Encryption is a
method to completely obscure the data.
In a real world example, http communication over SSL is an
example of both. First, the client encodes the data in such
a way that the server will understand it (URL tags and such).
Then, the client encrypts the data so that no eaves droppers
will know the meaning of the data. Once the encrypted,
encoded information is received by the server; the server
decrypts it and passes the encoded data (the data that can
be understood) to whichever process (httpd).
I hope that helps a little.
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