[Harmony proxies][Terminology] "fixed" state of a proxy

Tom Van Cutsem tomvc.be at gmail.com
Wed Mar 16 00:59:58 PDT 2011


I agree that Proxy.isProxy (or Object.isProxy) is strictly a better name
than Proxy.isTrapping.
I also agree that in developer-facing documentation, using the terms "proxy"
vs "regular object" instead of "trapping" vs "fixed" proxy is better.

On the other hand, for spec. and implementation purposes, it does make sense
to have terminology for "an object formerly known as a proxy". As Andreas
points out, fixed function proxies may still behave observably different
from regular functions.

Also, there's still the "fix()" trap. Are you suggesting to rename this one
as well? It doesn't seem necessary to me. One could state that by fixing a
proxy, the proxy becomes a regular object.

I'll make a note of your Proxy.isProxy suggestion, should this method ever
be spec'ed.

2011/3/13 David Bruant <bruant at enseirb-matmeca.fr>

>  That's a very interesting point.
> But there is indeed a subtle difference between call/construct traps and
> the rest of the handler. These traps are actually more of the "internal
> property setting" kinds (like the prototype argument in Proxy.create). I
> think that it is the reason why these things are separated from the handler
> object; they are more like "direct static setting".
> When reading the semantics of [[Prototype]], [[Call]] and [[Construct]],
> one can notice that there is no external dependency. The proxy contains
> references to what has been passed as an argument (and their own internal
> properties) and uses them without being disturbed.
> All the other internal method semantics have a dependency on the handler
> object (the internal method is reified as the handler trap dynamically not
> as the value at initialisation time). This is one difference.
> Another difference is that the main goal of turning the proxy into an
> object after preventExtension is to prevent the proxy from breaking
> invariants. Among these invariants, the fake-object shouldn't be able to be
> added properties to, so property-adding (defineProperty/set) traps should be
> shutdown. Another invariant is that two consecutive calls to property
> introspection traps shouldn't allow you to pretend that properties have been
> added. So property-introspection traps (all remaining except delete and fix)
> should be removed.
> And shutting down some traps wouldn't really make sense without removing
> them all I think (I do not feel 100% strong on this).
> The way I see it, after the fix trap, the proxy isn't trapping anything.
> For function proxies, I would consider the case as: what remains is a
> function with user-defined [[Call]] and [[Construct]] internal methods. It
> wouldn't actually be very far from what we could expect from a
> Function.create(call, constr) method which I would see as some sort of
> equivalent of the Object.create(prototype).
> David
> Le 13/03/2011 21:50, Andreas Gal a écrit :
>  There is a little twist to this. You can create a proxy that has separate
> implementations of [[Call]] and [[Construct]], and by fixing it, it converts
> to a regular functions. However, this "regular" function is different from
> any other non-host function: it behaves different w.r.t. to f() and new f().
> At the implementation level this is reflected by the fact that we use a
> different internal class for these "function" objects. It also maintains all
> the other behaviors of the original proxy [[Call]] and [[Construct]] hooks,
> i.e. new f() can return "5". I am not sure whether this difference warrants
> talking about fixed proxies, but I wanted to point it out.
>  Andreas
>  On Mar 13, 2011, at 10:08 AM, David Bruant wrote:
>  Hi,
> I would like to discuss the terminology of the proposal and the two states
> of a proxy: trapping or fixed.
> In order to discuss, here is a little example:
> ---------------------------------
> var o = {};
> var p = Proxy.create( forwardingHandler(o) );
> p.a = 1;
> o.b = 2;
> p.c = 3;
> o.d = 4;
> /* For all x in [a,b,c,d], we have (p[x] === o[x]) and (p.hasOwnProperty(x)
> iff o.hasOwnProperty(x)) */
> Object.preventExtension(p); // The "proxy" becomes "fixed"
> delete o.a;
> delete p.b;
> // o is like {b:2, c:3, d:4} while p is like {a:1, c:3, d:4}
> // o and p have lost "synchronicity". p is an object with its own
> independent life.
> ----------------------------------
> After the Object.preventExtension|seal|freeze call, p isn't a proxy
> anymore. It becomes a regular object. None of what used to be p's traps when
> it /was/ a proxy is going to be called anymore through p surface-syntax
> iteraction. After the call to a succeeding (non-throwing) fix trap, what we
> have falls under the definition of an Object as known in ES5 (and
> previously). Another way to put it is that there is no way for an external
> program to distinguish if p is a proxy or an object (unless this external
> program had overriden Proxy.create beforehand).
> The way I see it, a proxy is trapping and that's it. What is "fixed" is an
> object, because the proxy has lost all its "magic" (and cannot get it back
> by design).
> In my opinion, we should stop talking of proxies as "fixed" and stop using
> this terminology because it may cause confusion.
> If there is an agreement on this, I'd suggest to rename the
> Proxy.isTrapping method as Proxy.isProxy since as I understand it, saying
> that a proxy is trapping is a tautology.
> What's your opinion?
> David
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