ES Decimal status

Sam Ruby rubys at
Wed Sep 24 07:31:19 PDT 2008

Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> On Sep 24, 2008, at 3:33 AM, Mike Cowlishaw wrote:
>>> and in particular they don't call it on the index in an array  
>>> indexing
>>> operation.
>> This is true.  But that in itself is not the problem.  Currently,  
>> should a
>> programmer write:
>>  a[1]="first"
>>  a[1.000]="second"
>> it's assumed that the second case was an accidental typo and they  
>> really
>> did not mean to type the extra '.000'.  The problem occurs at that  
>> point,
>> on the conversion from a decimal (ASCII/Unicode/whatever) string in  
>> the
>> program to an internal representation.  When the internal  
>> representation
>> cannot preserve the distinction (as with binary doubles) there's not  
>> much
>> that can be done about it.  But a decimal internal representation can
>> preserve the distinction, and so it should - 1m and 1.000m differ in  
>> the
>> same was a "1" and "1.000".  They are distinguishable, but when
>> interpreted as a number, they are considered equal.
> I'm not sure what you are getting at. a[1] and a[1.000] refer to the  
> same property in ECMAScript, but a[1m] and a[1.000m] would not. Are  
> you saying this isn't a problem?
> I would agree with Waldermar that it is a serious problem. Not so much  
> for literals as for values that end up with varying numbers of  
> trailing zeroes depending on how they were computed, even though they  
> are numerically the same. Certainly it seems it would make arrays  
> unusable for someone trying to use decimal numbers only.

"broken", "unusable".  Given superlatives such as these, one would think 
that code which would change in behavior would be abundant, and readily 

> Regards,
> Maciej

- Sam Ruby

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