three small proposals: the bikeshed cometh!

Brendan Eich brendan at
Thu Apr 29 16:59:33 PDT 2010

On Apr 29, 2010, at 4:33 PM, Mark S. Miller wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 2:40 PM, Brendan Eich <brendan at>  
> wrote:
> The JSConf audience poll did provoke someone to suggest "fun", and I  
> mentioned "fn" (the ML family languages have both). Two letters or  
> three might be few enough, and avoid the line-noise and can't-type- 
> Greek issues.
> Neither "fun" nor "fn" are reserved identifiers. They are short  
> ascii identifiers, so conflicts are virtually guaranteed. I don't  
> see any realistic way to make them keywords without either breaking  
> the web or (in your terminology) raising the opt-in migration tax  
> too high. Am I missing something?

No, you're not missing anything, except possibly this: the same  
objection applies to lambda (λ) and florin (ƒ).

On the other hand, with opt-in versioning, developers might find that  
the migration tax is not that bad, for any of these including "fn" and  
perhaps even "fun".

> If there is a painless way to introduce short keywords that weren't  
> previously reserved, I'd love to understand that.

It's all about the low odds of ƒ or (I have to go copy and paste now)  
λ or fn being used as an identifier. The odds are worse for fn, even  
worse for fun, but possibly still low enough.

But again, any Unicode identifier however short (if not already  
reserved) is an incompatible change from ES1-5.

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