`free` operator

Andrea Giammarchi andrea.giammarchi at gmail.com
Thu Oct 25 16:55:28 PDT 2012

how about

`someObject = null;`

rather than delete someObject;


free'ing' an object is like dealing with GC ... I think you would rather
stay away from it and track references, and free them, as much as you can :)

On Thu, Oct 25, 2012 at 4:16 PM, Isaac Schlueter <i at izs.me> wrote:

> It'd be really nice if JS had a way to explicitly delete an object.
> Occasionally, in complex programs, you can find yourself with a
> situation where a certain type of object is leaking.  However, even if
> you track down what the object is, and find the exact point in your
> program where you ought to have no references to it, it's not always
> obvious to know what might be holding a reference still.  It's
> tempting to do this, and newcomers often think that this helps, but of
> course, it does nothing:
> function doStuff() {
>   // some object that we're doing stuff with...
>   someObject.someMethod()
>   // now we know we're done, and there should be no refs.
>   // but, there are, and they're leaking.
>   // I know!  I'll do this:
>   delete someObject
>   // surprise! that does nothing.
> }
> What do you folks think about a "free" operator (or something like it)
> that would actually do what `delete` looks like it does?
> var obj = {}
> var foo = { ref: obj }
> var obj2 = obj
> free obj  // obviously this syntax probably won't work, since 'free'
> is not a reserved word already
> assert(obj === undefined)
> assert(foo.ref === undefined)
> assert(obj2 === undefined)
> So, any references to the freed object would be set to undefined, and
> presumably at some point, the GC will harvest it.
> Yes, yes, I know, the proper way to fix a memory leak in JS is to
> properly manage references, but sometimes that means rewriting this
> complicated app, and it's leaking memory now, in production.
> Has this been discussed before?
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