An "extend" operator is a natural companion to <|

Luke Hoban lukeh at microsoft.com
Tue Jul 19 11:56:52 PDT 2011


>> Object.extend(src, dest)

>This is certainly closest to paving the cowpath. Either via a built-in module exporting 'extend', or as you suggest, directly on Object. The Object.extend route is a bit harder to analyze, but not fatally so for any capable static analysis framework.
> Either way (built-in module or Object.extend), old script (Hi Luke! ;-) could use it too.

Agreed - this was my initial reaction to <| as well, and I still see a number of reasons to prefer a library solution over a syntax solution for both 'Obect.extend' and 'Object.make'.

The arguments for <| as an operator seemed to boil down to:
1) It's more 'declarative'
2) It can be optimized by engines

For developer-facing benefit, I think the declarative claim is maybe not really very significant.  From feedback I've heard when showing <| to JS developers, I don't see there being a preference for <| over Object.make(proto, members).  And as mentioned, for engine optimization, the library approach is harder, but should not be impossible to optimize for modern engines.  There is a chicken and egg game for optimization that engines likely won't invest in this till users use it, and vice versa - but from discussions with Chakra developers, I expect we'd prefer to spend our energy investing in this class of optimization instead of implementing bespoke syntax and hoping that developers use it.

The arguments in favor of a library alternative are:
1) Immediately useful to all JS developers
2) Simple, understandable syntax consistent with existing practice

Developers would not need to opt in to breaking changes to use the new library, and would not need to wait for all engine implementers to implement and all users to upgrade.  From discussions with some Microsoft dev teams, that could be a 3+ year difference in adoption timeline.  The most common usages of these libraries could be offered (with worse performance) by a shim library, which also helps.  I also generally feel like avoiding new operators when possible is a "good thing" for learnability and readability of the language.

Luke


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