ES4 implementation process, teams, and meetings

Brendan Eich brendan at
Thu Feb 21 10:41:03 PST 2008

On Feb 21, 2008, at 8:30 AM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:

> I'd like Apple and the WebKit project to get involved with ES4
> implementation. But right now, as far as I can tell, there isn't a
> written record for any of ES4's features that I could point an
> engineer to and say "implement this".

There's certainly no such spec, or you would be a passive observer of  
a standardization process that was all but done. That's not reality,  
and it arguably is not what you should want -- Apple people could be  
valued peers in the remaining work on ES4.

If you want to be passive implementors of a finished spec, then wait  
till next year.

> The proposals on the wiki are
> way out of date, it's not easy to find what trac tickets modified
> them, and there seem to be commonly understood planned changes that
> aren't even reflected in trac.

That's a failure to file trac tickets -- could you please list these  
changes that aren't in the trac? There's no other bug system to track  
these planned changes, so they had better show up at http:// soon or they won't happen.

> Before attempting interoperable implementations of particular
> features, I think we need at minimum a form of the proposal for that
> feature that is complete and up to date. It doesn't have to be formal
> specification quality, but there has to be something accurate.

I've worked pretty hard to keep proposals such as iterators and  
generators up to date; it depends on other proposals which are also  
not formal spec quality, but stable and meaningful (structural types,  
type parameters). Cormac has done work recently in formalizing the  
type system which was important to Graydon's RI work.

So I think you are generalizing unfairly here.

It's true that decimal is out of date in the wiki, and there are open  
trac issues. This is true of other proposals.

> Now, it may be that by telling someone to reverse engineer another
> implementation, or ask the ES4 crowd about every detail of how a
> feature should be implemented, someone could succeed in implementing.

Nice strawmen, but no one proposed those things.

> But it seems to me that this undermines the unstated assumption of
> interoperable *independent* implementations.

> In contrast, with CSS, Web API or HTML WG specifications, I can point
> engineers to a spec that is more or less accurate for a given feature
> and they only have to ask questions about the few missing details.

And then Hixie goes and rewrites it. I am calling b.s. here, Maciej.  
We implemented offline web app support early in Firefox 3, based on  
such WHAT-WG (ok, not HTML WG at the time) specs. They changed a  
great deal later.

> I
> would raise HTML5 as a particularly laudable example because it
> achieves this even though much implementation work is happening in
> parallel with writing the spec.

You are misrepresenting what has actually happened there.

> I think we should strive to achieve the same standard for ES4. At
> feature granularity, someone should first write an up to date accurate
> document and implementations should be done against that, not against
> some separate shared understanding of the feature.

That's the plan -- see Jeff's paragraph about "feature specs" which I  
cited in reply to Geoff.

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