I was checking out https://github.com/rails/rails/blob/master/activesupport/lib/active_support/xml_mini.rb#L152
It has: TODO: Add support for other encodings
So, I googled a bit and found this: http://base91.sourceforge.net/
On initial investigation, this seems a pretty good alternative to base64
I feel this might be of good value to a lot of developers.
If you guys feel the same way, I will be more than happy to get started on this.