Fwd: Nullablity

Shijun He hax.sfo at gmail.com
Fri Jun 23 06:46:25 PDT 2006

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shijun He <hax.sfo at gmail.com>
Date: Jun 23, 2006 1:34 PM
Subject: Re: Nullablity
To: Graydon Hoare <graydon at mozilla.com>

On 6/23/06, Graydon Hoare <graydon at mozilla.com> wrote:
> Nicolas Cannasse wrote:
> > As for values initialization, it should be enforced by the compiler.
> > This can easily be done for member and local variables by using some
> > recursive flow algorithm.
> I know you're coming from the background of compiling large, highly
> structured programs, and I respect that perspective. I personally agree
> with what you've said here, in the context of a language *for my
> programming needs*.
> But I've also heard a credible argument during the design process: that
> the majority of JS code on the web is tiny little fragments, one liners,
> often fragments that only run zero or one times, and sometimes running
> on a cell phone. Keeping the "defaults" easy to compile is a priority
> for at least some of the language implementers. This means dataflow
> algorithms are unappealing: local expression-type inference is about all
> we want to pay for. We do not want to reimplement Java's definite
> assignment rules or similar.

There r 2 modes: strict and non-strict(what named 'standard' now, but
i don't like this name, maybe 'loose' will be better). So, if i want
to write a tiny code fragment, i can use non-strict mode or even back
to ES3.

Strict mode should help coder to eliminiate all NullPointerException.

About non-strict mode, any access to uninitializd non-nullable var
will cause UninitializedError.

I think there is no need to introduce C++ initializer. In strict mode,
compiler could ensure non-nullable member will be initialize in
constructor, in non-strict mode, nothing happend until uninitializd
non-nullable property being accessed, result in UninitializedError.

And I suggest that we can introduce default function for default value
of non-nullable type.

class Complex {
  static const zero:Complex = new Complex(0, 0);
  function default() { return zero; }
  function Complex(a, b) {...}

var c:Complex;
assert (c == new Complex(0, 0));

Here a another simpler syntax i suggested:

class Complex {
  static const zero = new(0, 0); // for constant, there is no need to
declare type
  default() { return zero; } // function keyword can be omitted in
class definition
  new(a, b) {...}  // use 'new' instead of the class identifier, and
we could allow such usage: c = Complex.new(0, 0);

> We've talked through many alternatives, and I agree that the topic is
> not yet exhausted. Some syntactically distinct form that covers for the
> same task is possible. We've discussed C++-style initializer syntax for
> example, or ML-style construction-from-a-set-of-expressions. I'm sure
> there are other potential options, but we must keep the tradeoffs in mind.
> -graydon
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