Revisiting Decimal (was: Prioritized list of Decimal method additions)

Brendan Eich brendan at
Wed Dec 3 17:28:13 PST 2008

On Dec 3, 2008, at 1:04 PM, Sam Ruby wrote:

> I saw the meeting minutes, and got a debrief from Allen yesterday.
> I'm still unclear on how to proceed with Decimal, even if the new
> target is Harmony.
> Waldemar's issues were raised and responded to prior to Kona:
> 008074.html

Did this address Waldemar's other message?

I also don't see a reply to David-Sarah Hopwood's message:

> What are we left with relative to the the following output from the
> code that I wrote?

Looks like we may need Waldemar to comment or elaborate on his last  
post (first link above).

> Relative to that output, I've heard two issues.
> The first was "no user visible cohorts".  The issue is Waldemar's
> insistence that ES is irretrievably broken if array lookup for
> x[1.10m] respects the trailing zero.  IIRC, Brendan's position was a
> more pragmatic one, namely that "small" integers (like, say, up to
> 10**20th) are the only values for which toString must avoid both
> exponential notation and trailing zeros, other values shouldn't get in
> the way of "doing the right thing".  That would have been fine, but
> unfortunately he couldn't make the meeting (something I definitely
> understand).  Mike and I weren't then, and still aren't happy about
> conceding to Waldemar's position on this one, but at Redmond we did
> with the understanding that with that concession, Decimal was "in".

This Redmond-meeting result did sound like a breakthrough in any  
event. Was it memorialized with spec changes?

> The second was the duplication between "Math.min" and "Decimal.min".
> I was operating under the "if it ain't broken, don't fix it"
> guidelines.  To date, Math.min *always* returns a Number, never an
> Object.  Waldemar apparently feels that people will call the wrong
> function.  To me, this is a "you say N-EEE-THER, I say N-EYE-THER"
> issue.  If the consensus is that Math.min should be changed and
> Decimal.min should be removed, that's a pretty quick fix.

This doesn't seem like a big problem, by itself.

> So now the question is: where are we now?

The two general kinds of problems from the Kona meeting were:

1. Spec bugs, not just typos but material ones that couldn't be fixed  
by that meeting, which was the deadline for major additions to ES3.1  
not already in the spec.

2. Future-proofing arguments including: do we need Decimal wrappers  
for decimal primitives. I know we've been over this before, but it  
still is an open issue in TC39.

I'd appreciate Waldemar's comments; and those of other TC39ers too, of  


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