New Feature to JS 1.7

Brendan Eich brendan at
Mon Oct 8 00:09:48 PDT 2007

On Oct 7, 2007, at 11:41 PM, Garrett Smith wrote:

>> I personally believe that the unsound, untestable/non-executable ES3
>> spec is a rathole we should avoid. The errata (which are not complete
>> by a long shot) that we have hosted at
>> language/E262-3-errata.html would have to be incorporated, again with
>> high risk of bugs and no way to test. I think we are much better off
>> working on the ES4 refimpl and the spec derived in part from it.
> That is disappointing to hear.

Why? Which particular word in "unsound", "untestable" and "rathole"  
was wrong, so that you'd be disappointed we didn't charge down that  

> I sent an email to helpdesk at, as it is listed on the front of
> the manual, but did not get a reply.

That mail made it to my attention. The problem besides the lack of  
soundness and testability is that editing minor corrections can be  
done, but creates a difference between the Ecma spec and the ISO  
version of it. Editing non-trivial fixes is not well-supported by  
Ecma process or JTC-1 Fast-track to ISO.

The fix is to do a new Edition, but that's not going to happen just  
to fix a few (or even a lot of) errata. It has been over eight years  
since Edition 3, and the JS authors deserve better than a typo fix or  
three. Our work on Edition 4 is all but specified. Meaning, we're  
about ten months from really all but done with the spec -- spec- 
writing is hard work, but at least this time there will be a testable  
reference implementation provided along with the spec, and bug-fixed  
over time.

Modern standards are not holy writ, and as you note not bug-free.  
They should move toward continual refinement and release, as software  
has (Windows Update, Apple Software Update, etc.). The Ecma process  
is not nearly that continual. The Scheme community wants to move  
toward a more frequent update of their spec (R6RS, R6.1RS, etc.). I'm  
working with Ecma folks to explore a way forward along those lines,  
but it won't happen quickly. The best plan now is to get back to an  
every-two-years release footing, based on ES4.

> If the documentation were amended, understanding would most likely  
> improve.

Maybe, but there're lots of JS books on shelves and people cope  
without delving into the corners of the spec that contain errata. We  
get very few complaints -- yours is one of a few cases where someone  
bothered to mail Ecma.

> BTW, I'm having trouble viewing now.

Works for me at the moment.


More information about the Es4-discuss mailing list