Why decimal?

Christian Plesner Hansen christian.plesner.hansen at gmail.com
Tue Jun 23 10:10:34 PDT 2009


> Do you consider that naive user's calculator example to be "financial"? I do
> not.

I don't know, the user doesn't say why this inaccuracy is a problem.
It sounds like he's just generally unhappy that arithmetic is
approximate.  Decimal is approximate too.  Unless the example is set
in a context where we know we'll stay in base 10, such as financial,
decimal arithmetic will only give you less accuracy per bit.

> The counter-argument articulated at the meeting by Sam was that it's rare
> for users to download binary extensions to JS for browsers (Flash is the
> only exception, and it's not primarily a JS extension). So users won't get
> decimal unless it is part of the normative core spec, so the usability bug
> reported as Mozilla bug 5856 won't get fixed.

As far as I can see none of the reports collected under 5856 ask for
decimal, what they ask for is accurate arithmetic.  Decimal doesn't
provide that.  If people were asking for decimal arithmetic because
they needed it for some particular financial or scientific application
then that would be different.

> I think Sam has a point; lack of a standard could be a problem. But whatever
> we do about it, the committee agreed to work on value types first. They're
> on the Harmony agenda.

Are there any other uses planned for value types than decimal?


-- Christian


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