Namespaces as Sugar (was: complexity tax)

Mark S. Miller erights at
Mon May 26 18:53:43 PDT 2008

On Mon, May 26, 2008 at 2:45 PM, Brendan Eich <brendan at> wrote:
> In that case, it would still help if you had an argument based on ES4
> premises that led to a simpler ES4. But it would be sillly to repeat ES3
> premises as disqualifying a part of ES4, since they're different evolutions
> of ES3 with different design goals based on different premises.

I find this sudden discussion of premises bizarre. In any case, if
you'll recall how we got here:

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 4:32 PM, Douglas Crockford
<douglas at> wrote:
> These essential features will be added without
> resorting to new syntax.

> On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 4:46 PM, Brendan Eich <brendan at> wrote:
>> New syntax is what's needed to make these usable.

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 6:54 PM, Mark Miller <erights at> wrote:
> I agree that it would be nice to have better syntactic conveniences
> for some of these features. I also agree that the ES4 syntax has some
> decent conveniences. Given the inescapable legacy compatibility
> constraints, it's amazing how well they turned out; kudos! If I could
> have a language with some of the syntactic conveniences of ES4 but
> without ES4's semantics, I'd be quite happy.

2008/5/19 Brendan Eich <brendan at>:
> What semantics in particular, can you pick on something specific that's not
> in your classes as sugar proposal (rather than have me guess)? BTW, since
> you missed the cuts in the spreadsheet, you may have missed the optional
> type checker being cut too: 'use strict' is good-taste mode, a la Perl and
> in accord with discussions we've had at the last two TC39 meetings.
> Thanks for the kind words, although since neither 3.1 nor 4 is done yet,
> specific constructive criticism is even better.

That is a reasonable request which I appreciate. I am attempting to do
so, rather than argue from supposed ES4 premises.

On Mon, May 19, 2008 at 6:54 PM, Mark Miller <erights at> wrote:
> From prior discussions, I don't believe it's possible to
> find something in the middle that we can all agree on -- though I
> would still like to!

If the various camps define incompatible positions as premises, then
we may as well give up all hope of agreeing on very much. But a wise
person once said something like

  In mathematics, we justify theorems by derivation from axioms.
  But as mathematicians, we judge axioms based on what theorems
  they produce.

(I think it may have been Karl Popper, but I have been unable to find
anything by searching. Any pointers would be appreciated.)

Rather than proceeding from premises, let's continue to argue about
goals, tradeoffs and taste. Despite everything, I remain hopeful that
we may find ourselves agreeing on more than the current state of the
argument would suggest. From your reasonable request, and from your
citing the history of cuts to date, I hoped you felt likewise. I hope
you still do.


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