Why packages and namespaces?

Jeff Dyer jodyer at adobe.com
Wed Jan 30 09:35:56 PST 2008

On 1/30/08 9:17 AM, Peter Michaux wrote:

> On Jan 28, 2008 12:04 AM, Peter Michaux <petermichaux at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Here is a concrete problem. I tried this in the reference implementation...
>> package org {
>>   public var ecmascript = {a: 1};
>> }
>> package org.ecmascript {
>>   public var a = 2;
>> }
>> org.ecmascript.a   // 2
>> How do I access the "org.ecmascript.a" that has value 1?

   import org.*;
   import org.ecmascript.*;
   ... = org.ecmascript.a
   ... = a

for example. The secret is in the lookup rules for packages: longest match
works. Perhaps there is a bug in the reference implementation.

>> How does the programmer writing the org package know that his "a" will
>> be clobbered by the "a" in the  org.ecmascript package?

He doesn't. But it's out of his hands since he can't know what code exists
outside of his world that a user might intermingle with his.

Here's another example, which packages won't help with:

  import org.ecmascript.a;
  var org = {ecmascript: 4}

  ... = org.ecmascript.a   // error: a is undefined in 'ecmascript'

The var 'org' shadows the first identifier in package 'org.ecmascript'.

This can be worked around by narrowing the scope of the 'import' so that it
shadows the var 'obj'. At least that is what I would expect. Need to check.

>> point of packages to avoid this type of problem?

I'd say "to *help* avoid", yes.

> Is this not considered a big problem? It seems like one to me.

What do you suggest we do differently?

> Peter
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