parseInt and implicit octal constants

Maciej Stachowiak mjs at
Fri Feb 20 15:45:05 PST 2009

On Feb 20, 2009, at 3:26 PM, Mark S. Miller wrote:

> 2009/2/20 Allen Wirfs-Brock <Allen.Wirfs-Brock at>:
>> The cop-out is to just leave it as it is.
>> The safe decision is to mandate the current  de facto standard.
>> The brave (ie, risky) decision for a better long term language is to
>> disallow octal.
> Given that Opera has survived the decision not to use octal, doesn't
> this establish that this decision is adequately compatible with the
> web? Opera folk, do you have any data (anecdotal would be fine) of how
> much breakage you encounter because of this decision?
> If the Opera experience says the risk is acceptably low, I vote to
> disallow octal.

I wouldn't assume that an Opera-only behavior is safe for the Web;  
there are a number of Opera-specific behaviors that for instance  
Firefox or Safari would not accept as meeting our threshold of Web  
compatibility. I would be interested in hearing what, if any, bugs  
they have run into.

I think the wise thing to do here is specify a requirement for octal  
support. The potential improvement in overall usability of the  
language seems small and not worth taking a compatibility risk.


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