Concerns about weak refs and weak maps.

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.com
Fri Oct 29 01:35:15 PDT 2010


On Oct 29, 2010, at 12:08 AM, Erik Corry wrote:

> One of the hallmarks of a real language implementation vs. a 'toy
> scripting language' ala PHP is a good GC.  I'd really like to see
> someone do a low-latency GC with weak maps before we hobble the
> language with something that can't be implemented efficiently.

Any chance you guys will implement the WeakMap proposal?


> By modern I mean generational and either parallel or concurrent.

Parallel vs. concurrent GC is a good distinction to bring up. We're interested in parallel GC too, and we have a WeakMap prototype under way, so we'll have to report back in due course.

Still, it seems premature to rule WeakMaps out right now. Rather than strangle them in the cradle, I hope several browser-based engines can implement and see what we find out. The use-cases in the language remain pretty compelling, without a good fallback strategy (leaky strong maps? No object reference keyed maps at all?).

Concurrent is a different animal from parallel, and I remain skeptical about JS implementations  deviating significantly from shared-nothing concurrency, even as the JS embeddings use threads under the hood to utilize more cores.

/be



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