Existential operator (was: ||= is much needed?)

Brendan Eich brendan at mozilla.org
Thu Jun 21 08:23:37 PDT 2012

John Tamplin wrote:
> So do you have to do it by treating the ?. operator as a standalone?
Not sure what you mean here -- "standalone ?" (with an English-langauge 
? implied after in your sentence? ;-)?

Or something else that amounts to a concealed Reference or 
Nil-value-proxy expression?

Just talking spec here: as Allen mentioned, ECMA-262 specifies semantics 
by evaluating productions in a mostly-LR(1) grammar, so member and call 
expressions (left-associative) have to result in some kind of 
(spec-internal or language-external) value.

Thus foo?.bar.baz.quux is really (((foo?.bar).baz).quux).

>  Instead, could you do the "indefinte soak" part during parsing, 
> treating the rest of the expression differently after having seen a ?. 
> operator?

Indeed one can translate when parsing. CoffeeScript does this, with some 
separate passes for its other purposes (implicitly declared variables, 
indentation-based block structure, etc.).

The ES specs can't do this, though, not without a total rewrite.

> -- 
> John A. Tamplin
> Software Engineer (GWT), Google
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