January 19 meeting notes

Waldemar Horwat
Thu Jan 19 16:40:46 PST 2012
Second day meeting notes.

Revisited octal/binary constants.
Waldemar: Note that we currenty allow both upper and lower cases for a, b,
c, d, e, f in hex literals as well as e in exponents and x in hex
literals.  Breaking symmetry by forbidding upper case for b and o to avoid
lookalikes would be "nanny language design".  We can't forbid lookalikes
  let y = 3;
    let у = 7;
    return y;
This is a valid ES6 strict function body that returns 3, of course.  The
second let defines a local variable named with a Cyrillic letter.

Decision:  Allow upper case B and O to start binary or octal literals.

Complex discussion about what's feasible in static checking of references
from modules.  Discussed issues with integrating script code eval'd from
cross-origin XHR requests and the (anti-)merits of using var to declare

MarkM: Abandon static checking.
Waldemar:  MarkM's example from yesterday is an important use case: using a
typeof check to see if a variable is defined and later in the same module
conditionally dynamically defining it if it wasn't and, even further down
in the module, using it.  A static check would flag the uses and prevent
the module from loading.
Allen: This is a good use case for pragmas.

MarkM, Waldemar:  Example of a successful strict transition:  Nowadays the
two of us don't even know non-strict Perl because it's too weird.  We
learned the cleaner strict version, always set the pragma, and stay within
the strict version.  Anything non-strict is considered to be broken until
it can be upgraded to strict.

Philosophical discussion about modality, whether a "mode" should be called
a "dialect", etc.

Summary of static checking pain points that need resolutions:
- Out-of-order asynchronously loaded scripts
- Concatenation of scripts
- Dynamic testing for variable existence and conditional use if it exists
Resolution:  Will do more work and come back to this area.

Allen:  Do top-level let and const create properties of the global object?
DaveH (channeling Andreas):  No, but functions do.
Sam:  If they don't then the T-shirt Erik is currently wearing wouldn't
Many agreed that we can't break the T-shirt.
DaveH:  What if there are duplicate top-level bindings?
MarkM:  Top-level let should behave as much as possible the same as
concatenated scripts.
Waldemar:  What about read-eval-print loops?
MarkM:  Each eval inserts one more nested scope.
Waldemar:  What if someone does this:
> let x = 3;
> function foo() {return x;}
> let x = 7;
This would leave foo returning 3.
MarkM:  That's the proper behavior.  Anything else has problems.
Waldemar:  [incredulous]
Allen:  We shouldn't spec read-eval-print loops.

DaveH's summary of issues:
- Can we get to a world where var is completely unnecessary?
- Can we do the above for all important top-level patterns?
- Can we do the above without ever needing nonstrict mode?
- Should let have consistent semantics in all contexts?
Consensus on:
- Should multiple scripts or scripts and attributes share lexical scopes
other than via global objects?  No.
- Consensus that concatenating multiple scripts via scope nesting semantics
is undesirable.

Sam:  What about global scope polluters?
let Object = 7;
should be an error.  But implementations have other sources of polluters
(such as predefined implementation features or other HTML elements on the
page) that can cause global clashes.
Allen:  Top-level declaration overriding is allowed if the existing
property has the attributes writable:true and enumerable:true (and the new
declaration stays enumerable).  Configurable doesn't (sic) enter the
Allen:  See https://bugs.ecmascript.org/show_bug.cgi?id=78
DOMs now declare properties on the prototype of the Window object.

Internationalization report
Discussion about a name (and domain name) for the internationalization test
suite.  402 is the current next unused ECMA standard number.  We probably
shouldn't wait for two more ECMA standards to be published....  Mild
consensus on putting the test suite in a subdirectory of test262.
Discussion about whether to keep internationalization as a separate
document or to merge it into ECMA-262.  Current decision is to keep it
separate for faster evolution of both standards and to avoid bureaucracy
with ISO.
Discussion about the choice of name for the global variable via which the
internationalization API is accessed.  Possibilities are Globalization and
Intl.  Need to look for web breakage these would cause.
Everybody needs to review internationalization spec before the vote in

Debate over whether to use TypeError or RangeError for domain errors.
DaveH:  Use TypeError
Allen, Waldemar:  Use RangeError.  Note that RangeError is used for more
than just numeric intervals -- passing 3.5 to a function that expects an
integer in [0, 2^32) throws a RangeError in ES5.1.

Test262 status report:  No invalid test cases left.
MarkM: Want some means to avoid having test262 penalize implementations
that anticipate incompatible breaks that have been approved by the
committee (possible example: completion reform in ES6).
Allen: Distinguish between spec bugs and breaking spec revisions.
DaveH, Sam: In reality the test suite provides political pressure.  Want to
avoid applying that pressure for features that we decided to break in the
future spec.
Alex: Create a category of deprecated tests that, just like the
nonnormative ones, run but don't factor into the score.
DavidF (in response to discussion assertions about test262 always tracking
only the latest ECMAScript version): Microsoft wants to retain an ES5.1
variant of test262 even after ES6 is released.
Consensus: Create a third category of tests for features that are "no
longer endorsed".

Mozilla hasn't signed a contributor agreement yet.  Waiting for having
something to contribute.

Istvan's report about the chaos that Intel caused at the last GA meeting
and the developments since then.
Allen: We should formalize the RANDZ for TC39.
Intel will be here for the next meeting of TC39.
TC45 also had an understanding that their contributions would be RANDZ.
MarkM: If we can't formalize RANDZ in TC39 somehow, several members will
desire to take the standards activity to an organization that can.
Varied and long discussion about IPR policy developments.

ECMAScript(R) got registered as a trademark in Switzerland.

At next meeting MarkM will present a tiny API proposal for maps and sets.
Allen:  Reset agenda for next meeting.  Don't include zombie carryovers.
Brendan:  Gavin is working on classes.

var Int8Array = new ArrayType(Int8);
var arr1 = new Int8Array(100);
var arr2 = new Int8Array(256);

var MyStruct = new StructType({extra: Int8Array(100)});
Note that Int8Array does different things when called with or without new.
Debated how to do this -- specialize on new (can be done via proxies) or on
whether the "this" value is undefined or not.

Allen, DaveH:  Classes should support the ability to express APIs such as
this one.

Waldemar:  How would this work?
let t = Int8Array(100);
var arr3 = new t;
Luke:  It wouldn't.
Some debate ensues.
DaveH:  There should be two kinds of array type objects: sized and
unsized.  Calling an unsized one as a function with a length argument
returns a sized array type object.  Can call new on the resulting sized
array type to obtain an array instance.  Luke now agrees.

Can construct an array value as a view over part of an ArrayBuffer.
Waldemar: This brings up endian issues.
Luke: Array buffer is exposed only if you allocate an array using an
explicit ArrayBuffer.  The forms that create arrays without explicit
ArrayBuffers don't expose endianness.
DaveH: The endianness ship has sailed with TypedArrays.  It's
implementation defined.
DaveH: People use this to aid with file I/O.
Waldemar: The two statements above contradict each other.  All
implementations will want to make the same choice to avoid nondeterministic
behavior, particularly if people use it for file I/O.  We should pick the
main one and mandate it.
Brendan: It's already specified as little endian for arrays and big endian
for data view.
Sam: Looked at the Kronos spec and it doesn't say anything about
non-data-view endianness.  It's not specified.
DaveH: We should try to spec endianness if possible.

Debate over whether the following should be an error in strict mode (or
"extended mode" if there is such a thing).  It isn't an error in ES5.1
function (e) {var e;}
Consensus: No, we should not change strict mode incompatibly like this.
This is valid in all modes.
Brendan: It should be an early error to have a var hoist across a
catch-block with the same variable name.
Also, "function (e) {let e;}" should always be an error.

Allen, Sam: Module mode will be the same as strict mode, except possibly
for additional free variable static checks.

Discussed Allen's list of current ES6 extended mode breaking changes from
the "ES6 opt-in, reloaded" thread.
Consensus: For each of these, either we introduce it in all code (maybe all
strict code) or we don't do it.

Discussion about scope of for-bindings.
for (var x = ...;;) {...}  will, of course, retain ES1 semantics.
for (let x = ...;;) {...}
Allen: This will behave as in C++: x is bound once in a new scope
immediately surrounding just the for statement.
DaveH: Strangely enough, this creates a new x binding in Dart at each
There's an alternative semantics that creates an iteration-local second x
inside the loop and copies it back and forth.  Debate about whether to go
to such complexity.  Many of us are on the fence.
Waldemar: What happens in the forwarding semantics if you capture the x
inside a lambda in any of the three expressions in the head?
If this happens in the initializer:
DaveH's option: The lambda would capture an outer x.
Alternative: The lambda captures a hidden second x.
Waldemar's option: The lambda would capture the x from the first
iteration.  The let variable x is bound once through each iteration, just
before the test, if
  for (let x = expr1; expr2;) {...}
  while (true) {
    let x = first_iteration ? expr1 : value_of_x_from_previous_iteration;
    if (!expr2)
MarkM:  Just discovered that his desugaring has the same semantics as
Waldemar's option.

for (const x = ...;;) {...}  behaves analogously to let, whatever we decide
let will do.

Those opposed earlier to new-binding-per-iteration hop back onto the
fence.  Waldemar, Brendan, and DaveH hop off the fence to now support it,
as it will cure an annoying gotcha in practice.  Looks like we have support
for it now.

End of meeting.

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