That hash symbol

Alex Russell alex at
Sat Mar 26 09:42:52 PDT 2011

On Mar 26, 2011, at 6:44 AM, Wes Garland wrote:

> On Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 2:33 AM, Brendan Eich <brendan at> wrote:
>> On Mar 25, 2011, at 8:45 PM, David Foley wrote:
>>> My response was simply this : assuming normative scope in conversational
>> tone, that I would welcome is a venue where
> end users (engineers and architects as well as scripters) could contribute
>> to the developer experience of using JavaScript
> I was going to suggest comp.lang.javascript, but I just had a look and it
> seems to have been taken over by DOM questions and spam.  David, why don't
> you start an "ES Tech" group or something, and ban questions which aren't
> related to JS? (Copy your charter from comp.lang.c, maybe).  Announce it
> here, and I will subscribe. Probably even participate.
>> Kevin Smith started this thread by objecting to #, and that's fair. It's a
>> bit chicken-scratchy. If we can find a better introductory keyword or formal
>> parameter bracketing form, I'm game.
> I like Doug's florin idea from an aesthetic POV, but I have two problems
> with it -- suddenly, I have to care what charset my editor is using -- but
> more importantly, I can't figure out how to type it on my Sun keyboard or on
> my Windows box. Also, what of JS which is delivered on the web using
> something other than unicode?
> Allowing both is an interesting option, but then I remember how annoying
> ANSI tri-graphs were (history lesson for !brendan: not all terminals had {,
> C programs allow ??< instead) and realise that would be a mistake.
> I, too, find #(a,b) but frankly, there aren't many lead-char solutions which
> aren't ugly, easy to type, and not used by identifiers (or as operators)
> already.  What have we got to chose from?  I think `@#%^&* -- none of these
> are measurably better than # and some are worse. Maybe you could make the
> point that & looks like a melted lambda. But I see no point in bike shedding
> over this.

Erik and I worked through most of these options, considering their placement on US and non-US keyboard layouts and their relative "does it look like a function?"-ness. "#" won, not because either of us loved it, but because it was the least bad.

> Non leading-char solutions have the disadvantage of using some other kind of
> bracketing -- e.g.  `a,b { return a + b; }` -- I don't find syntax like this
> clear from a coder's POV, and there is the re-tooling issue with
> highlighting editors and the ability to trivially transform between the
> styles for faster adoption and old code minification -- while these issues
> certainly shouldn't be deciding factors for TC39 it is nice that
> leading-char lparen...rparen makes most of them go away.
>>> You do yourself a disservice by assuming idiocracy.
> I don't think Brendan ever assumed that this place is governed by idiots.
> Wes
> -- 
> Wesley W. Garland
> Director, Product Development
> PageMail, Inc.
> +1 613 542 2787 x 102
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Alex Russell
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