Minimalist Classes

Dmitry Soshnikov dmitry.soshnikov at
Tue Nov 1 07:21:29 PDT 2011

On 01.11.2011 17:53, Jeremy Ashkenas wrote:
>     This doesn't sound right to me. What happens if you call the same
>     method on another object while the super-resolution is still
>     active for the first call? IOW, this sounds like it has similar
>     problems to dynamic scope; the behavior of a function becomes
>     sensitive to the context in which it's called, which is unmodular.
>     The problem isn't so much whether it's possible to come up with a
>     semantics by changing the runtime; I'm sure we could do that. The
>     problem is finding a way to get the semantics you want without
>     taxing the performance all other function calls in the language.
>     (Also known as a "pay-as-you-go" feature: if you don't use the
>     feature, it shouldn't cost you anything.) We don't know how to do
>     that for super().
> I think one piece of this is worth reiterating: As long as 
> classes are mostly sugar for prototypes, and prototypes aren't going 
> to be deprecated or removed in the next version of JavaScript (two 
> propositions that I think most of us can get behind) ... then it's 
> very important that super() and new class syntax *aren't* coupled. An 
> ES6 super() that fails to work at all with regular prototypes would be 
> a serious problem. It would make interoperating between vanilla 
> prototypes and prototypes-built-by-classes much more difficult than 
> necessary, and the feel of the language as a whole much more fragmented.
> If you agree, then a super() that resolves dynamically is the way 
> forward, and things get easier: super() can be added without classes, 
> classes can be added without super(), and if both make it in, both can 
> work seamlessly together.
> I don't think that an efficient, pay-as-you-go dynamic super() will be 
> easy, but with the technical chops of TC39 at your disposal, it should 
> be possible. Expanding the rough sketch from earlier messages:
>   * If a function doesn't use super(), there is no cost, and no change 
> in semantics.
>   * The first-level super() call is easy, just use the method of the 
> same name on the __proto__.
>   * When passing into a super(), add a record to the call stack that 
> contains [the current object, the name of the method, and the next 
> level __proto__].
>   * When returning from a super(), pop the record from the call stack.
>   * When making a super() call, check the call stack for a record 
> about the current object and method name, and use the provided 
> __proto__ instead of this.__proto__ if one exists.

If Dave (and you) is talking about the problem of i-looping at resolving 
deeper than 2nd level super-calls, then even call-stack is not needed.

See this implementation: (with 
delete-restore the parent link technique).

Usage level with examples (line 95):

P.S.: I noticed several times here that this -- -- is *too* cryptic. And if we don't 
want to turn JS *again* (well, after it has been explained in more-less 
deeper details) into "the world's most misunderstood language" we should 
avoid this cryptic stuff.

I give you "over 9000" points that users more likely will use more 
convenient and familiar stuff as in Coffee or Dart for classes. So let's 
try (if it's possible at all!) to adopt the sugar from Coffee or the 
similar I noticed before -- (thus, names 
"initialize" or "constructor" aren't so essential for me, as well as "@" 
vs. "this").


>     So I guess in theory I agree it'd be nice if super() and class
>     could be designed completely orthogonally, but in practice they
>     affect each other. But at the same time, I think a class syntax
>     where the body is restricted to be declarative is actually a nice
>     sweet spot anyway. You can still dynamically create classes just
>     like always, but the declarative form gives you a sweet and simple
>     syntax for the most common case.
> It's definitely the most common case, but a JavaScript class syntax 
> that is only able to create instances with a static shape would be 
> severely limited compared to current prototypes. Many existing 
> libraries and applications would be unable to switch to such a syntax. 
> One familiar example off the top of my head is Underscore.js:
> ... particularly the bit about adding all of the functional helpers to 
> the "wrapper" object's prototype, to make chaining style possible.
> On the other hand, with the minimalist class proposal in this thread, 
> switching this library over to use them would be simple (if not 
> terribly pretty):
> class wrapper _.extend({
>   constructor: function(obj) {
>     this._wrapped = obj;
>   }
> }, _)
> _______________________________________________
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