July 25, 2012 - TC39 Meeting Notes

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.org
Wed Aug 1 08:09:59 PDT 2012

David Bruant wrote:
> By the way, I recall something I learned from @mathias. In Chrome:
>     console.log(document.all); // shows an object in the console
> console.log(typeof document.all) // undefined
>     'all' in document // true
>     console.log(!!document.all) // false
> Such a thing cannot be represented in pure ECMAScript, not even with 
> proxies. I don't think there is anything that can be done in 
> ECMAScript to fix this, but it's worth sharing this information.

This originated in SpiderMonkey for Firefox 1.0, see


There, I used a cheap heuristic bytecode analysis to distinguish 
undetected document.all uses, which some content featured (the authors 
assumed IE only; IE touched 95% market share in 2002), from property 
object-detected uses. The latter must be falsy but the former could be 
emulated for greater de-facto web compatibility.

Later, WebKit solved the same problem with a masqueradesAsUndefined flag 
set on certain objects, rather than code analysis. This is similar to 
how value objects 
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=749786) can be falsy.

But notice how value objects are immutable and so compare === by 
shallow-enough value. That is not how document.all works -- it's a 
mutable magic/live collection.

We might end up standardizing something for value proxies or value 
objects that allows JS to self-host this undetected document.all 
emulation hack. No promises, and no rush.


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