Spec feedback on rev 6

Herby Vojčík herby at mailbox.sk
Wed Aug 1 06:03:08 PDT 2012

Allen Wirfs-Brock wrote:
> We generally try to minimize tutorial material (eg examples) and
> redundancy between normative prose descriptions and normative
> algorithms. Redundant descriptions has historically resulted in internal
> inconsistencies. We have also seen cases where implementors follow
> incomplete prose descriptions without referring to the more complete
> algorithm. For these reasons, I have been converting much of the
> redundant prose from previous editions into non-normative notes. In
> general, examples are only used if they seem necessary to clarify some
> difficult to understand normative point. Sometimes I will insert an
> example in order to make it clear that some unusual design point is
> intentional and not a bug in the specification. The spec. generally does
> not discuss what a feature is good for or how to use it. Having said all
> that, the spec. doesn't always follow these guidelines. We working on
> the 6th edition of a fifteen year old document and sometimes older
> material doesn't follow newer conventions. Cleaning this up is mostly a
> "if time is available" task.

An idea related to this: ECMA-262 spec has a test suite. It could be 
beneficial from coder PoV (maybe for other readers, especially reading 
it for the first time / after long pause, too) to include shortened 
(table-like, inputs plus desired output) test-cases before the actual 
algorithm. Though the algorithm would still be authoritative.


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