Is class syntax really necessary ?

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.com
Mon May 23 08:51:58 PDT 2011


On May 23, 2011, at 8:31 AM, Brendan Eich wrote:

> On May 23, 2011, at 6:11 AM, Irakli Gozalishvili wrote:
>> 1. More syntax means larger language surface, which adds complexity more things to remember / learn. More things to consider in ES.next.next 
> 
> It's true, although not everyone learns it all up front. Especially where new syntax is not yet supported in all browsers, and the student is not using a compiler to translate new to old version.
> 
> I think the sharper version of your (1) is: "class syntax is too much syntax to solve the problems people have with prototypal inheritance: subclassed prototype/constructor set-up and super calls."
> 
> I agree with that.

To be fair, others want to hang more hats on class syntax, including traits (separate proposal) and const/abstract modifiers. Then there are the guards and trademarking strawmen.

Class syntax is like a lint brush for such features. If we add it, it will accrete more semantics (with unambiguous syntax, I hope) over time. This is just inevitable, in my view. It makes me want to resist classes and look at smaller and more direct fixes for the two known prototypal hazards.

/be


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