Translate hook

Brendan Eich brendan at
Thu Jun 20 08:49:42 PDT 2013

Jonathan Bond-Caron wrote:
> If translate() is intended as a hook for transpilation, it will lead to fragmentation.

This does not make sense, because no would-be-fragmenter (browser brand 
X) gains share by shipping pre-packaged translators -- they'd be 
implemented in JS and managed on github, so anything built-in would just 
drift out of date quickly, besides not being attractive to developers 
who cannot count on it exception in brand X.

Downloaded translators are a different story, but those play on a level 
field and all ES6 browsers can support them equally well. They stay 
fresh via HTTP caching or better. They're no different than jQuery.

Of course, many sites will precompile to avoid any client-side perf hit 
and CPU heat. That's the biggest counter-argument to translate as a 
much-used-by-deployments tool. But it still makes sense for prototyping 
and experimentation. It is not inherently fragmenting.

Rubbing the general "compile to JS means many languages" worry bead is 
pointless. That genie won't go back in its bottle. We're better off with 
JS also being evolved to serve its hand-coding user base at the same pace.


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