typeof null

Herby Vojčík herby at mailbox.sk
Thu May 10 02:16:02 PDT 2012

Brendan Eich wrote:
> John J Barton wrote:
>> On Wed, May 9, 2012 at 2:22 PM, Brendan Eich<brendan at mozilla.org> wrote:
>>> As Crock said, the problem programmers face is "I have a value, I
>>> want to
>>> treat it as an object and get a property (call a method, etc.). How do I
>>> test is-this-an-object so that I can use dot without worrying about that
>>> throwing right away on null left-hand side?"
>> Yes, but ... why not
>> if (foo) {
>> foo.bar()
>> }
>> or one of its variants? I suppose that
>> if (typeof foo === 'object') { ...
>> helps in the case the your caller sent a string etc, but if this is
>> your goal, then why not use
>> if (foo&& foo.bar) {
>> and avoid other left-hand side problems?
> I like falsy tests but in really generic code, as you suggest, primitive
> falsy values could creep in and should work.
> Testing for the wanted property being truthy may not be enough (if it
> must be callable) but at much production code does not have to guard
> against null because of guaranteed initialization or small-world
> codebase rules that fit in maintainers' heads.

Here, it seems to me, the best solution would be built-in operators that 
test this:

canget foo.bar
cancall foo.bar
canconstruct foo.bar

which operate on spec-References.


> /be
>> jjb
>>> /be
>>> John J Barton wrote:
>>>> On Tue, May 8, 2012 at 6:07 PM, Brendan Eich<brendan at mozilla.org>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Object class reflection is frowned upon in Smalltalk for a reason. We
>>>>> want
>>>>> protocols, structural conventions -- not nominal type tags. Or so I
>>>>> think!
>>>> Perhaps it would be helpful if someone made the case for typeof null
>>>> === 'null'.
>>>> To me typeof null === 'object' is fine. It makes null a value in the
>>>> space of 'object'. In practice I see 'null' used to mean "I know this
>>>> reference (usually an argument) should be an object; I want to pass
>>>> nothing but signal that I really did mean to pass nothing." The status
>>>> quo allows this and it seems enough work for null to do for us.
>>>> Are there new things I can do if I now have a new answer to the
>>>> 'typeof' question?
>>>> jjb

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