ES3.1 Proposal Working Draft

Mark S. Miller erights at
Wed Feb 20 13:25:53 PST 2008

2008/2/20 Adam Peller <apeller at>:
>  Mark, as I recall, the discussion at the March meeting in Newton involved
> implementing decimal arithmetic in ES3.1 to *replace* the floating point
> implementation in ES3, thus "no new syntax". Yes, this would have unexpected
> results for those who actually have code logic which expects a value of
> "46.19" pounds, in Mike's example (see Numbers thread) but the benefits here
> seemed to far outweigh this discrepancy. I can't speak to the technical
> level of detail that Mike can, but at a high level it's seen as a bug by the
> vast majority of users, and for all practical purposes, that's what it is.

I was not at the March meeting. If decimal is sufficiently compatible
with binary double precision floating point to keep old programs
working, I might be willing to consider *replacing* double with
decimal. How compatible are they? What numbers are representable as
double but not decimal? Does decimal have NaN, Infinity, -Infinity,
and -0.0? (Btw, I never liked -0.0. And I especially dislike ES3's
behavior that 0.0 === -0.0. However, I would argue against making
incompatible changes to this.)

The other design constraint is that ES4 be a compatible superset of
ES3.1. In light of your message, I checked the ES4 wiki pages.
seems to imply that use of ES3 syntax for numbers is to be interpreted
(approximately) according to ES3 rules. Are the ES4 folks willing to
*replace* binary floating point with decimal and drop the decimal
literal syntax?

If not, then I don't see how we could allow decimal into ES3.1.


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