Module system strawpersons

Mike Samuel mikesamuel at
Thu Jan 14 14:29:48 PST 2010

Ok, so let me try to make sure I understand the special form in
strawman:modules_emaker_style, by defining a mini-strawman and
knocking it down.

Consider a special form
   (f, definer) = defineDelayedFunction();
where f is a function that will block on first call until definer has
been called with an arguments array and a function body upon which
point it will behave as if it were defined via new Function(...) with
those arguments and function body.  definer raises an Error on second
and subsequent calls.

defineDelayedFunction could be used with an async channel like
XMLHttpRequest to define a module system, but all module definitions
would happen at execute time, so it cannot be used to define a module
system that resolves definitions prior to body evaluation.

In modules_emaker_style, imports are statically determinable, so the
set of dependencies is fully satisfied before the Program is
evaluated, and this can be done recursively to make full use of
sockets.  A browser could optimistically find import definitions and
start downloading before the full script body is loaded.

defineDelayedFunction would impose lazy fetching, but
modules_emaker_style allows eager fetching.

2010/1/14  <ihab.awad at>:
> Hi Mike,
> On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 1:29 PM, Mike Samuel <mikesamuel at> wrote:
>> Are these proposals mutually exclusive or complementary.
>> If (1) and (2) are exclusive, is there a place to collect use cases
>> for a module-off?
> For my part, I think (1) and (2) are counterproposals, but there may
> exist a bunch of cross-pollination. For example, I will probably end
> up stealing Kris's "import with" syntax sometime.
>> I don't see the word module anywhere in the packages proposal besides footnotes.
>> What is the relationship between packages and modules.
> The packages proposal was written with module proposal (1) in mind,
> but is compatible in the broad sense with either. It does say in the
> beginning that it "... is intended to satisfy the Uniform location and
> retrieval goal of modules_emaker_style". There are more details under
> "Use in import" (where I just updated the syntax a little bit).
>>> 2.
>>>      Module proposal, by Ihab, focusing on EMaker-style invocation semantics.
>> "First class objects. To the extent possible, module system components
>> must be represented as first-class ECMAScript objects."
>> Does object exclude primitives such as strings, or is the goal to
>> exclude abstractions like LexicalScopes and References?
> The point is that module system components are made to appear, to the
> extent possible, as first-class objects rather than unmentionable
> "static" magic. E.g., contrast Java where, if Foo is a class, the
> expression "Foo" by itself is not an object; generic class parameters
> are not objects; etc. -- which makes higher-order programming somewhat
> harder.
>> "import" is added to the reserved keyword list?
> It should be reserved now, and is for sure reserved according to this proposal.
>> "return {
>>  getX: function() { return x; },
>>  getY: function() { return y; },"
>> indentation
> Fixed, tx.
>> "In the module’s code, this is initialized to a new object that is
>> instanceof the module function"
>> Does this mean that access to a module instance conveys authority to
>> create new module instances?
> Yes. Just like any other ES function where it's return value is
> instanceof that function.
>> "An import expression evaluates immediately to a module function
>> despite the fact that the specified module may have been fetched by
>> asynchronous means (e.g., nonblocking network operations). This is
>> done by taking advantage of the fact that import is a special form."
>> Does this require "import" to be a special form instead of a
>> desugaring?  Or can the special form be boiled down to a function
>> which when called, delays until another function is invoked,
>> presumably with a valid FunctionExpr string as its sole argument?
> Would that require a continuation-passing transform of the code after
> the desugared "import"? If so, that may not be semantics preserving.
> Ihab
> --
> Ihab A.B. Awad, Palo Alto, CA

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