Base64 is a freeware way of encoding 8-bit characters using only ASCII printable characters similar to UUENCODE. UUENCODE embeds a filename where BASE64 does not. You will see BASE64 used in encoding digital certificates, in encoding user:password string in an Authorization: header for HTTP. The spec is described in RFC 2045.
Don't confuse Base64 with x-www-form-urlencoded which is handled by java.net.URLEncoder.encode/decode or Base64u.
Base64 armouring uses only the characters A-Z a-z 0-9 +/=. This makes it suitable for encoding binary data as SQL strings, that will work no matter what the encoding. Unfortunately + / and = all have special meaning in URLs.
Base64u gets around this problem. It is a variant on Base64 that uses - _ and * in preference to + / and =, so that it can be used in URLEncoded contexts with or without URLEncoding.
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