arguments.callee and strict mode

Brendan Eich brendan at
Tue Mar 10 10:26:28 PDT 2009

On Mar 10, 2009, at 9:02 AM, Mark S. Miller wrote:

> On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 8:52 AM, Allen Wirfs-Brock <Allen.Wirfs-Brock at 
> > wrote:
> In reviewing the spec. I was reminded that arguments.callee is  
> disabled within strict mode functions.  Do you recall why you wanted  
> to do this, other than general dislike of arguments.
> POLA. A frequent and sensible pattern of use for "arguments" is to  
> pass it along to someone else to give them access to your arguments  
> list. In typical usage, it is not usually intended or desired to  
> thereby give them access to the function itself, not to give them  
> the ability to alter your parameter variables (hence the lack of  
> joining).

The point about joining is good, but not relevant to callee. If f  
calls g(arguments) and g takes formal parameter a, g cannot abuse  
a.callee to alias f's active variables.

Before giving callee the boot, has anyone interacted with Ajax library  
authors? Here (excluding lines longer than 256) are uses of callee in  
Dojo, Ext, JQuery, MochiKit, and Prototype:

> It occurs to me, that using arguments.callee is the only way  to  
> express recursion within a function created using the Function  
> constructor and that use of the Function constructor (rather than  
> eval) should probably be encouraged for dynamically constructing  
> functions from source code.
> Why? I was thinking exactly the opposite: That we should encourage  
> use of eval() rather than the Function constructor for dynamic  
> creation of functions.

Whatever encouragement the committee gives, with words or strict mode  
sticks, is not likely to have much effect on the bulk of Web code.  
Strict mode sticks may have an effect over time, but carrots work  

The Function constructor is used far less than eval("function f()  
{...}") or eval("var f = function(){...}") or even (this works only in  
some implementations and is not legal syntax in ES3) eval("function () 
{...}"). When all you have is the eval hammer, everything looks like  
your thumb.

Also, the Function constructor does not provide for a name (wherefore  
Maciej's Function.create). And it scopes the created function to the  
global object. There are reasonable use-cases for generated functions  
in local scopes.


> -- 
>    Cheers,
>    --MarkM
> _______________________________________________
> Es-discuss mailing list
> Es-discuss at

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