In C++ there are multiple character types which are available. The standard (narrow) character type is the basic char. More recently, with the popularity of unicode, the wide character type is becoming more popular, and is defined in C++ as wchar_t. Xport supports both of these character types, by using the character type as a template parameter for many of it's class templates. These class templates are then used to define type aliases which can be used by users of the library. By convention, all type aliases in Xport have a w prepended to the type alias name. So, the wide character type alias equivalent of an element would be a welement.