Question about GetBindingValue

Sukyoung Ryu sukyoung.ryu at
Thu Aug 28 18:38:34 PDT 2014


We found one "dead part" in ES5 and we're wondering whether we're missing something here.  The question is about the 4th step in Section GetBindingValue(N, S): GetBindingValue(N,S)
The concrete Environment Record method GetBindingValue for object environment records returns the value of its associated binding object's property whose name is the String value of the argument identifier N.  The property should already exist but if it does not the result depends upon the value of the S argument:
 1. Let envRec be the object environment record for which the method was invoked.
 2. Let bindings be the binding object for envRec.
 3. Let value be the result of calling the [[HasProperty]] internal method of bindings, passing N as the property name.
 4. If value is false, then
   a. If S is false, return the value undefined, otherwise throw a ReferenceError exception.
 5. Return the result of calling the [[Get]] internal method of bindings, passing N for the argument.

We believe that the 4th step is unreachable.  In other words, whenever GetBindingValue(N, S) is called, the result of calling the [[HasProperty]](N) is always true and here's why:

Let's assume that we're calling GetBindingValue(N, S) where [[HasProperty]](N) is false.

1) GetBindingValue is called only by GetValue in 8.7.1.
2) 8.7.1 GetValue: Calls GetBindingValue at the 5th step only when its given argument is Reference.  Otherwise, it returns the argument at step 1.
3) 8.7 The Reference Specification Type: Reference is a resolved name binding created by evaluation of an identifier in 11.1.2.
4) 11.1.2 Identifier Reference: Evaluation of an identifier is specified in 10.3.1.
5) 10.3.1 Identifier Resolution: Returns the result of calling GetIdentifierReference(lexenv, name, strict)
6) GetIdentifierReference:
6-1) Let's assume that lexenv is not null.
6-2) Then, envRec is lexenv's environment record.
6-3) Let exists be HasBinding(N) of envRec.
       6-3-1) HasBinding(N): Returns false at the 3rd step.
       6-3-1') HasBinding(N): Returns [[HasProperty]](N) which is false by our assumption.
6-4) exists is false.
6-5) Calls GetIdentifierReference(outer, N, strict)
6-6) Let's assume that outer is null.
6-7) Returns Reference(undefined, N, strict)
7) Reference values are achieved by calling GetValue in 8.7.1.  Let's get the value of the reference by calling GetValue(Reference(undefined, N, strict)).
8) 8.7.1 GetValue:
8-1) Type(Reference(undefined, N, strict)) is Reference.
8-2) base is undefined.
8-3) IsUnresolvableReference(Reference(undefined, N, strict)) is true.  Throws a ReferenceError exception.

Thus, it does not get to the 5th step to call GetBindingValue. may have a similar problem but we haven't checked it yet.  We checked with the recent ES6 draft but it seems to have the same issue.


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