Friday, November 9th, 2007
Brendan has been talking about ES4 for a long time now, and we have been a little surprised at how little people had been paying attention to it. But, of course, it is like an election. People ignore it until it gets close and then they look at the issues “oh wait a minute. that guy would do WHAT?”.
This has lead to the explosion of interest, and blog-fare. To finish up the week, we wanted to link to Brendan’s latest thoughts on ES4 news and opinion which includes a new known incompatibilities document:
Some news on language size: the proposed ECMAScript 4th edition (ES4) grammar is a bit more than twice as big as ES3’s, counting several ways (concrete productions, abstract syntax tree node types).
This is not out of line given the eight years since ES3, which came less than three years after ES1. Much of ES4 has been developed and shipped in ES3-based languages: AS3 in Flash, JS1.6 and 1.7 in Firefox, Opera’s extensions including array destructuring. And we’re being generous with syntactic conveniences, which desugar to a smaller core language.
On the compatibility front, we have a new document on known incompatibilities between ES3 (ECMA-262 Edition 3 the spec, not real-world behavior of ES3 implementations in browsers — note well) and ES4.
Neither a hidden and unready alternative proposal, nor general objections from a minority in the group, should halt a standard in progress. ES4 should be delayed or abandoned only on technical demerits, demonstrated specifically. There are enough implementors working together to make a standard, and ES4 as it has evolved has always been the expected successor standard. To block it based on general fears and opinions prejudges both the final standard and the market for it. The market, not Ecma TC39-TG1, should decide ES4’s fate.
It should be clear by now that the majority of TG1, who favor ES4, want to keep the group from splitting, or otherwise risking incompatible forks of ES3. Everyone loses in that scenario.
We wouldn’t have spent all the time in the wiki and at meetings if we all, including me, didn’t want a win-win outcome for all players. And I personally suggested to Chris in March that Microsoft could be a big winner by backing ES4 and supporting it in IE.
Is it still possible for everyone to win? I have to say I’m not as positive as I used to be. If we all work on testable compatibility via the reference implementation, then I’m somewhat more hopeful. But it will take a better stance than rejection of ES4 “in whole [and] in part” to get somewhere.
Posted by Dion Almaer at 11:27 am