new instantiation design alternatives

Rick Waldron waldron.rick at
Mon Sep 15 11:53:50 PDT 2014

On Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 2:42 PM, Allen Wirfs-Brock <allen at>

> On Sep 14, 2014, at 7:47 PM, Domenic Denicola wrote:
> I want to give a +1 to Allen. The syntax really is
> what-you-see-is-what-you-get, which is a great virtue. The C++-derived
> initializer is cute and tempting, but not nearly as powerful or easy to
> grok.
> That said, I feel weakly that requiring the correct `this = new
> super(...)`and/or `this = Object.create(new^.prototype)` invocation is a
> high price to pay for every derived class ever. In particular, "basic
> constructor functions" (ES5 "classes") that don't wish to use the
> superclass constructor don't need `this = Object.create(new^.prototype)`,
> so making ES6 classes require that is strange. It feels like protypal
> inheritance has "broken" once you start using ES6 classes, and it requires
> you to fix it by manually doing something that was previously implicit.
> I think I'd most be in favor of a third option that implicitly adds `this
> = Object.create(new^.prototype)` if no `this`-assignment is present. That
> way, the superclass constructor is never implicitly called, which is kind
> of what you would expect. But if you do no `this =` assignment, things
> don't totally break: you still get your prototype and a valid `this`, but
> you don't inherit the allocation or initialization logic from the
> superclass.
> Thanks, that's a plausible third alternative to the two variations we
> already have.  I'll take a look at creating a gist for that alternative.
> Since there has been a lot of talk about  verboseness of `this=` I want to
> compare several alternatives  for a derived class that wants to do it's own
> allocation: (this is derived from the last example in
> ):
> If `this=` assignment is not allowed then any locally allocating method
> has to look something like this:
> ```js
>    constructor(a) {
>       let newO = new^.specialAllocationMethod(); //or Object.create(new^),
> etc.
>       newO.a = a;
>       return newO;
>    }
> ```
> with `this`` assignment it looks like:
> ```js
>    constructor(a) {
>      this = new^.specialAllocationMethod(); //or Object.create(new^), etc.
>      this.a = a;
>    }
> ```
> Which is more verbose?

The first is also objectionable because it breaks existing implicit return

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