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Eric Elliott eric at
Fri Jun 28 10:42:17 PDT 2013

I know this has been batted around already. I know everybody's totally
stoked about class sugar in ES6. I just wanted to register my protest. I
made my arguments in this talk at Fluent:

I'm already seeing nasty codebase arthritis creep into JavaScript projects
thanks to things like Backbone.View.extend() being essentially mandatory.

Providing sugar to extend classes in JavaScript proper is like officially
sanctioning that nonsense.

I'm not the only one who feels that way. Here's an excerpt from one
viewer's comment on my presentation:

"I think this will only get worse with ES6 and I am rather upset about it.
While 'class' will be elective of course, I can only imagine more and more
libraries adopting the ES6 class pattern, and then we will wind up facing
the same set of challenges that exist in the Java world."

In my opinion, the clamoring for class in JavaScript is because JavaScript
tries to hide prototypes, rather than make it easy to deal with them.
Instead of class, we should let library authors continue to experiment with
other inheritance patterns in JavaScript. Here's an example:

We do need a bit more object sugar in JS, but I think we should wait for
some patterns to gain a foothold in the wild, and only when popular
patterns emerge and have time to be tested and proven to be
well-thought-out and a valuable addition (unlike Backbone's .extend(),
which is causing lots of problems in the real world), only THEN should the
idea be blessed by the specification.

Is class a good idea in JavaScript? I say, prove it. In fact, anything that
can have a reference implementation should be proven - not just by
implementing it to see if it can work, but if it can be polyfilled (or
something like it could be polyfilled), put it in a library and see if it
catches on before you add it to the spec, and everybody starts to write
about it in their "new JavaScript features" posts.

So far, NO IMPLEMENTATION of class in JavaScript has become a de-facto
standard. I think we should set the bar a little higher where a new feature
could actually cause damage to the language ecosystem.

Until Backbone came along and made .extend() the default way to create any
Backbone object, it was very easy for a JavaScript programmer to spend an
entire career having never extended from an existing class. And that was a
good thing.

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