Basic Lambdas and Explicit Tail Calls Repackaged

Brendan Eich brendan at
Mon Dec 8 09:19:31 PST 2008

On Dec 8, 2008, at 3:21 AM, Breton Slivka wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 6:35 PM, Brendan Eich <brendan at>  
> wrote:
>> (if we have
>> such, and we think we should, because the JS expression language is  
>> too weak
>> as Jon Zeppieri colorfully asserts).
> What would it take to make javascript's expressions rich enough to be
> suitable for use as a lambda body, in opposition to blocks?

Pretty much what Yuh-Ruey Chen just posted: make loop and if  
constructs expressions, a la Algol 68.

We talked about this at the Oslo meeting but more as a funny thought  
experiment. No one was seriously proposing it then. It might be  
possible to extend the grammar without much trouble, or "rotate" most  
statement productions down into the top of the expression grammar.

But is it really worth the trouble? The C heritage, specifically most  
JS hackers' training, militates against JS ever being used in the  
large as an expression language.


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