B is a programming language developed at Bell Labs circa 1969 by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie.
B was derived from BCPL, and its name may possibly be a contraction of BCPL. Thompson's coworker Dennis Ritchie speculated that the name might be based on Bon, an earlier, but unrelated, programming language that Thompson designed for use on Multics.
B was designed for recursive, non-numeric, machine-independent applications, such as system and language software. It was a typeless language, with the only data type being the underlying machine's natural memory word format, whatever that might be. Depending on the context, the word was treated either as an integer or a memory address.
As machines with ASCII processing became common, notably the DEC PDP-11 that arrived at Bell, support for character data stuffed in memory words became important. The typeless nature of the language was seen as a disadvantage, which led Thompson and Ritchie to develop an expanded version of the language sup