name property for built-in functions??

Allen Wirfs-Brock Allen.Wirfs-Brock at
Tue Mar 3 19:35:19 PST 2009

A quick post-script.  We could also give a different name, perhaps "identifier" if we don't want to trample over the existing FF and Chrome implementations.  Too bad "name" is such a good name for this functionality.

>-----Original Message-----
>From: es-discuss-bounces at [mailto:es-discuss-
>bounces at] On Behalf Of Allen Wirfs-Brock
>Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 6:25 PM
>To: Brendan Eich; Maciej Stachowiak
>Cc: es-discuss at
>Subject: RE: name property for built-in functions??
>Strictly speaking, this issue seems to be more about
>Function.prototype.toString than it is about
>Here is what each of the 5 browsers in our regular test set does for
>each when called on a (new Function):
>(new Function).toString ==> "function anonymous() { }" assorted
>whitespace/new line variations
>   FF(3.0.6), Safari(3.1.2), Chrome(1.0) , IE (7):
>(new Function).toString ==> "function (){}"  (with various new lines
>   Opera(9.63)
>(function() {}).toString() ==> "function (){}"  (with various new lines
>   FF, Safari, Chrome, Opera
>(function() {}).toString() ==> "(function (){})"  (note the outer
>   IE
>(new Function).hasOwnProperty("name") ==> true
>(new Function).name ==> "anonymous"
>(function() {}).name ==> ""
>FF, Chrome
>(new Function).hasOwnProperty("name") ==> false
>Opera, Safari, IE
>Function.prototype.hasOwnProperty("name") ==> true
>  ==> ""
>   FF
>Function.prototype.hasOwnProperty("name") ==> true
>  ==> "Empty"
>   Chrome
>Function.prototype.hasOwnProperty("name") ==> false
>   Safari, Opera, IE
>ES3 says that Function.prototype.toString produces a string that has the
>syntax of a FunctionDeclaration and FunctionDeclaration must have an
>identifier in the function name position. All the implementation except
>for Opera comply and agree upon the name "anonymous" for anonymous
>functions created with (new Function).  This is a case where Opera is
>out of conformance with ES3 by generating what looks like a function
>expression rather than a function declaration. However, all of the
>browsers are out of conformance with ES3 for toString for anonymous
>functions created using a FunctionExpression.  IE throws in an extra set
>of parens in that case.
>The Es3 extension of a name property for functions only appear to be
>implemented  by FF and Chrome, and they disagree about the name of
>The ES specification of Function.prototype.toString clearly does not
>reflect reality. The goal is to achieve uniformity among implementations
>while minimizing impact upon existing code.  Given this, I propose that
>we modify the first paragraph of (Function.prototype.toString)
>with the
>An implementation-dependent >>>string<<< representation of the function
>is returned. This representation has the syntax of a
>>>>FunctionExpression<<<. Note in particular that the use and placement
>of white space, line terminators, and semicolons within the
>representation string is implementation-dependent. >>>If the function
>was created by evaluating a FunctionDeclaration then the returned
>representation must include the identifier from the FunctionDeclaration
>in the optional identifier position in the FunctionExpression.  If the
>function was created by a call to the standard built-in Function
>constructor then the name "anonymous" must occur in the optional
>identifier position of the returned string.  If the function was created
>by evaluating a FunctionExpression that did not include an identifier,
>by a get or set property assignment in an ObjectLiteral, or by a call to
>the Function.prototype.bind built-in method then no identifier is
>included in the returned representation.
>  If the function is a built-in function then the property name assigned
>to the function in this specification (or by the implementation if it is
>a non-standard function) is included in as the identifier in the
>returned representation.  If the function is a host object then whether
>or not an identifier is present is implementation defined.<<<
>(maybe I can work on the wording ;-)
>The above codifies what currently is most commonly implemented with some
>elaboration for new features in ES3.1 and should take care of the actual
>use case that Maciej identifier in the bug report.
>Regarding,, it doesn't appear to be nearly so
>universally implemented.  Given that, I suggest we use the opportunity
>of defining it in ES3.1 to maximize its utility by providing more
>descriptive names than what is current generated by
>Function.prototype.toString. I'd prefer that we stick with what is in
>current ES3.1 draft which is:
>   Defined by                           name
>FunctionDeclaration                 the identifier from the declaration
>FunctionExpression with name        the identifier from the function
>FunctionExpresion w/o name          the empty string
>Object literal get/set              "get <property name>" or "set
><property name>"
>Bound function                      "bind <target function name>" or "
>bind anonymous function"
>(new Function)                       "new Function"*
>Built-in                            specified name
>*the current draft says "" but I consider this to be a bug.  I
>apparently lost this change when Word crashed on me Sunday :-(
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Brendan Eich [mailto:brendan at]
>>Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 3:25 PM
>>To: Maciej Stachowiak
>>Cc: Allen Wirfs-Brock; es-discuss at
>>Subject: Re: name property for built-in functions??
>>On Mar 3, 2009, at 2:39 PM, Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
>>> Surprising though it may be, it seems that (new Function).name ===
>>> "anonymous" may be relevant to Web compatibility. We changed
>>> JavaScriptCore to match SpiderMonkey on this as a result of this bug:
>>I can't reach that hostname, but
>>  works.
>>BTW, the ability to write a program whose entire source is "function
>>() {}" is an old, pre-ES3 feature of SpiderMonkey that people *still*
>>depend on, especially when using eval (not new Function) to generate a
>>lambda from source.
>>Per ES3 this should be a syntax error as Darin Adler pointed out in
>>the bug, but we have had to keep compatibility with
>>what came before ES3 on this point. There's an API option
>>(JSOPTION_ANONFUNFIX) to make this case an error per spec.
>>> I strongly suspect code also depends on (function(){}).name==="" but
>>> I don't have a clear-cut example handy.
>>I voiced the same suspicion. I didn't know any web site depending on
>>Function().name == "anonymous", though. What a world!
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