Namespaces as Sugar (was: complexity tax)

Mark S. Miller erights at
Tue May 27 07:32:56 PDT 2008

On Tue, May 27, 2008 at 12:48 AM, Brendan Eich <brendan at> wrote:
> Exploring is fine, don't let me discourage you. I don't mean to complain.
> But I hope there's no mission creep going on for ES3.1 that would try to add
> primitives (the fewest possible) for every new facility in ES4 not in ES3.1.
> That is a good way to delay 3.1 and 4, and multiple design by committee (if
> not square it, per Metcalfe's Law).
> Keep 3.1 small. That's my motto, and Doug's too I'm sure. Sound right?

Yes, agreed. Namespaces-as-Sugar (hereafter NAS) is too big for ES3.1.
Perhaps it's too small for ES4. Again, it is simply my attempt to
explain what I meant by "A language with some of ES4's syntactic
conveniences but without ES4's semantics." I would be less happy with
NAS added to a language than with nothing added -- the problem it
addresses is a problem more in theory than in practice. The real
problem in practice is module linkage. Dojo and YUI show that this is
already adequately solved with patterns and libraries, with no new
language mechanism needed.

As I stated, I expect the current truce between the camps -- resulting
in two successor languages -- is probably the best we can do. It's
certainly a lot better than the previous stalemate. But I'm still
curious and hopeful whether a "language with some of ES4's syntactic
conveniences but without ES4's semantics" might be an intermediate
point we could get all around agreement on. Probably not, but it is
worth asking.


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