Terminology for explaining a limited range of values encoded into bits [on hold]

It’s been incredibly difficult to do searches and write essays on subjects like these without knowing the proper terminology.

Here’s an example, to clarify what is being discussed here:

The four nucleotides – the base units or “letters” of DNA – are Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine. 4 different possibilities means you can store each nucleotide in 2 bits.

  • A – 00
  • C – 01
  • G – 10
  • T – 11

It took forever to find again, but ASN.1 is the kind of “encoding” I’m talking about. Layman’s Guide to a Subset of ASN.1, BER, and DER.

Elusive terms:

  • The general name for this.
    • A search for “byte encoding” returns only UTF-8 and ASCII stuff.
    • The term “serialization” includes string formats like JSON and XML, which are not what is being discussed.
    • The Wikipedia page for serialization even has to refer to this as “the more compact, byte-stream-based encoding”.
  • Term to generally refer to one of these non-human-readable streams of data, in a specific format.
    • “File format” describes what I’m talking about, but it’s difficult to convey the difference between an FTP JSON file and a “custom-serialized” BLOB on an SQL server.
    • “Codec” describes it well, but it is referring almost exclusively to video and audio.
  • Term to refer to a domain of possible values to be encoded into bits.
    • For the DNA example above, this would refer to the 4 unique letters; the members of an enum.
    • For a numeric value, the range would determine how many bits are required to represent the number.
    • For a string value, the range of characters available would determine how many bits are required per letter. Variable vs fixed-length string would also be a part of it (covered in the ASN.1 guide).
  • This field as a whole.
  • Any others that potentially would be helpful in the future.

And if there aren’t specific terms available, then provide alternative ways to convey these concepts.