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init. (context computing English) Basic Combined Programming Language, a programming language of the 1960s intended for writing compilers and on which the later language C was based.


BCPL (Basic Combined Programming Language) is a procedural, imperative, and structured computer programming language designed by Martin Richards of the University of Cambridge in 1966.

Originally intended for writing compilers for other languages, BCPL is no longer in common use. However, its influence is still felt because a stripped down and syntactically changed version of BCPL, called B, was the language on which the C programming language was based. This led many C programmers to give BCPL the humorous backronym Before C Programming Language.

BCPL was the first brace programming language, and the braces survived the syntactical changes and have become a common means of denoting program source code statements. In practice, on limited keyboards of the day, source programs often used the sequences $( and $) in place of the symbols { and }. The single-line '//' comments of BCPL, which were not adopted by C, reappeared in C++, and later in C99.