Minimalist Classes

Axel Rauschmayer axel at
Tue Nov 1 10:34:27 PDT 2011

If you have a prototype chain of objects, |this| will always point to the beginning of the chain (which is also where properties are created whenever you set a property via |this|). This is what allows methods in the prototype to access instance properties.

If there is a method m in any of the objects of the chain and it makes a super-call, you want the search to start in the prototype of m’s object – and not in the prototype of |this| (which is always the second object in the prototype chain).

Does that make sense?

On Nov 1, 2011, at 18:22 , John J Barton wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 1, 2011 at 9:45 AM, Allen Wirfs-Brock <allen at> wrote:
>> On Nov 1, 2011, at 6:53 AM, Jeremy Ashkenas wrote:
>> The complication of super is that each "super call" requires two independent
>> pieces of state in additional to the method arguments: the object that will
>> be used as the |this| value of the resulting method invocation and the
>> object where property lookup will begin when searching for the  method.
>> Let's call this the "lookup-point".   |super| when used to access a method
>> property really represents a pair of values (this,lookup-point).  In the
>> general case, these are not the same value so they must be independently
>> captured and represented.
>> Where do these two pieces of state come from?  The |this| value of a super
>> call is simply the |this| that was dynamically passed into the calling
>> method.  Where does the look-up point come from.  There are fundamentally
>> two possibilities:
>> a) it is dynamically passed to every method invocation, ;just like |this|
>> currently is
>> b) it is statically associated with the method in some way.
> I'm just curious and I think understanding the following point would
> help developers:
> Why isn't the |super| lookup-point |this.getPrototypeOf()| (The
> protolink or [[Prototype]])?  I thought that if
>   let f = new F();
> and F inherits from G, then will have this.getPrototypeOf()
> === G and that is what super would be? Somewhere I went wrong...
> jjb
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Dr. Axel Rauschmayer
axel at


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