What Does Atbash Mean?

Atbash is an ancient type of cryptography that was originally used to encode the Hebrew language by transposing certain letters.


In modern computer programming, atbash and other ciphers are often used for training purposes. New coders may receive an assignment that involves creating an atbash cipher writing program. This challenge helps programmers to consider how a computer can produce this kind of result through careful loop coding with determined variables that will represent the original and final letters.

Techopedia Explains Atbash

In an atbash cipher, the letters of the alphabet are transposed starting with a reversal of the first and last letters, then moving to the next adjacent pair of letters.

Most atbash code programs contain a loop to help the program operate on a fixed set of letters in a particular message or text. Coders may use an array to treat each letter equally and sequentially, using string or numeric variables to identify the original letters and the letters to which they should be changed. One challenge in setting up an atbash code is the numerical representation of characters in ASCII, where the coder may have to write the program to change numbers in a non-sequential way. Another challenge is making sure that the variables, arrays and operators are set up correctly to deal with all incoming characters and avoid run-time issues.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…