Using Object Literals as Classes

Herby Vojčík herby at
Fri Mar 16 09:53:29 PDT 2012

Kevin Smith wrote:
> Rather than abuse your inbox, I published this as a blog entry:
> Summary:  It has been suggested that extended object literals can be
> used to define class-like abstractions, and that consequently class
> syntax is not necessary. I analyze the implications from the point of
> view of a library developer.
> Comments?

I've got a slightly different POV.

Yes, in a perfect world, there is no need for class constructs. All 
people coming to ES learn how great and powerful it is to have the 
prototypal inheritance which lets you do everything you did before and 
many more.

I cherish this power and simplicity.

But, in the real world, everyone (except for the little percentage of 
the ones willing to learn and go deeper) begin to rant "where are the 
classes" and then painfully create some "library for OO in Javascript".

I _don't_ want to meat these all over. ES is fine as it is.

And to stop this "class library" proliferation (and creating code that 
is much more mutually readable) one should add class constructs into the 
language. But to make such construct well-blended into the language and 
its prototypal nature.

First thing is, if it performs well for at least 80% of the common 
cases, people will use it rather than "better, truer, real classy from 
[inseet your own] library".

And second, it is not a tragedy if such classes "leak". I would even 
tell it is a positive thing. If native classes are good enough 
to describe class concept, but at the same time slowly learn the 
must-have-classes developers that classes are nothing more than a 
decoration based on the more basic elements of the language, they slowly 
adopt it, step by step (singleton is probably the first to die in this 
battle ;-) ).

I, personally, would live perfectly fine without class. A little more 
than is already in proposals (<| for declarations; separation of 
parallel hierearchy from single hierarchy) will suffice for me.

But there are different, above-mentioned reasons why native class is a 
very good idea (of course, not a heavy implementation that bring 
something another beyond the rich language of object literals; 
but that fear could be probably buried - it seems heavy classes are not 
going in).

> kevin


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