Exactly where is a RegularExpressionLiteral allowed?

Waldemar Horwat waldemar at google.com
Mon Mar 23 18:03:08 PDT 2009

David-Sarah Hopwood wrote:
> I'll repeat my argument here for convenience:
>   A DivisionPunctuator must be preceded by an expression.
>   A RegularExpressionLiteral is itself an expression.
> (This assumes that the omission of RegularExpressionLiteral from
> Literal is a bug.)
>   Therefore, for there to exist syntactic contexts in which either
>   a DivisionPunctuator or a RegularExpressionLiteral could occur,
>   it would have to be possible for an expression to immediately
>   follow [*] another expression with no intervening operator.
>   The only case in which that can occur is where a semicolon is
>   automatically inserted between the two expressions.
>   Assume that case: then the second expression cannot begin
>   with [*] a token whose first character is '/', because that
>   would have been interpreted as a DivisionPunctuator, and so
>   no semicolon insertion would have occurred (because semicolon
>   insertion only occurs where there would otherwise have been a
>   syntax error); contradiction.

Yes, I verified when we were writing ES3 that this was the only case where the syntactic grammar permitted a / to serve as both a division (or division-assignment) and a regexp literal.  The interaction of lexing and semicolon insertion would have been unclear (how can you say that the next token is invalid if you don't know how to lex it?), so we wrote the spec to explicitly resolve those in favor of division.


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