A new ES6 draft is available

Mark Volkmann r.mark.volkmann at gmail.com
Mon Jan 19 09:01:49 PST 2015

Maybe this is wrong, but I'm in the habit of thinking that if something has
a value of null, something in JavaScript code (mine or a library I'm using)
explicitly set it to null. If something has a value of undefined, it was
never set. For that reason, I'd prefer using undefined in this case over

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/  \/  \
\      /ark
               Object Computing, Inc.
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On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 10:54 AM, Allen Wirfs-Brock <allen at wirfs-brock.com>

> On Jan 19, 2015, at 5:51 AM, Claude Pache wrote:
> Le 19 janv. 2015 à 11:58, Andreas Rossberg <rossberg at google.com> a écrit :
> On 17 January 2015 at 19:14, Allen Wirfs-Brock <allen at wirfs-brock.com>
> wrote:
>> On Jan 17, 2015, at 9:53 AM, Domenic Denicola wrote:
>> > On Jan 17, 2015, at 12:31, Allen Wirfs-Brock <allen at wirfs-brock.com>
>> wrote:
>> >>
>> >> If the enclosing function is invoked as a call expression the value
>> of  `new.target` is null
>> >
>> > Just curious, why null instead of undefined?
>> null is used to indicate no [[Prototype]], so it seem to me to be a
>> better match for this situation.
> Wouldn't the fact that null is a quasi-legal prototype strongly speak for
> using undefined here? Otherwise, it seems you couldn't distinguish Call
> invocations from Construct invocations with a prototype that has actually
> been set to null (which I suppose is legal?).
> (In terms of proper option/maybe types, this is yet another case of a None
> vs Some(None) distinction.)
> /Andreas
> `new.target` is a reference to the constructor, not the prototype, so the
> problem does not arise in practice.
> But anyhow, I do think that `undefined` is semantically better here:
> * `new.target === null` means: `new.target` has been set to "no object".
> * `new.target === undefined` means: `new.target` has not been set.
> At the JS level, I don't actually think about `new.target` as something
> that is "settable". I think about it as an oracle that tells me about how
> this function was invoked.  null means it was invoked "as a function".
>  non-null means it was invoked as a constructor and the value is the object
> that `new` was applied to.
> When you execute a function body with the semantics of [[Construct]], the
> value of `new.target` is the original constructor on which `new` was
> applied. If it was possible to have the semantics of [[Construct]] with no
> original constructor, then `new.target` would be `null` (no-object).
> But it isn't.  Reflect.construct ensures that an non-null value is passed
> to [[Construct]] as its second argument
> But when you execute a function body with the semantics of [[Call]], there
> is no notion of "original constructor", and `new.target` is left with no
> value, i.e. `undefined`.
> I originally intended `new.target` to use `undefined` is the sentinel
> value to indicated "called as a function".  But as I wrote the spec. it
> felt better to use `null` in that role.  I think it's because using `null`
> seems more special.  `undefined` is used in so many places to indicated so
> many different things that it is hard to apply any generalized meaning to
> it.  On the other hand, `null` is used in only a few places in the ES spec.
> so its use seems to draw attention to the specialness of those situations.
> But, I'd have no problem with changing back to `undefined` if there is a
> consensus in favor of that.
> It really makes very little difference as `null` and `undefined` are both
> falsey values, so the preferred way to write a "called as a function" these
> should probably be:
> `if (! new.target) ...`
> Allen
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