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# Value objects in JS - an ES7 work in progress

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Slides I prepared for the 25 July 2013 Ecma TC39 meeting, on Value Objects in JS, an ES7 proposal

Slides I prepared for the 25 July 2013 Ecma TC39 meeting, on Value Objects in JS, an ES7 proposal

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• 1. Value Objects Brendan Eich <brendan@mozilla.org> Sunday, July 28, 13
• 2. Use Cases • symbol, arguably • int64, uint64 • Int32x4, Int32x8 (SIMD) • float32 • Float32x4, Float32x8 (SIMD) • bignum • decimal • rational • complex Sunday, July 28, 13
• 3. Overloadable Operators •| ^ & •== •< <= •<< >> >>> •+ - •* / % •~ boolean-test unary- unary+ Sunday, July 28, 13
• 4. Preserving Boolean Algebra • != and ! are not overloadable to preserve identities including • X ? A : B <=> !X ? B : A • !(X && Y) <=> !X || !Y • !(X || Y) <=> !X && !Y • X != Y <=> !(X == Y) Sunday, July 28, 13
• 5. Preserving Relational Relations • > and >= are derived from < and <= as follows: • A > B <=> B < A • A >= B <=> B <= A • We provide <= in addition to < rather than derive A <= B from !(B < A) in order to allow the <= overloading to match the same value object’s == semantics -- and for special cases, e.g., unordered values (NaNs) Sunday, July 28, 13
• 6. Strict Equality Operators • The strict equality operators, === and !==, cannot be overloaded • They work on frozen-by-deﬁnition value objects via a structural recursive strict equality test • Same-object-reference remains a fast-path optimization Sunday, July 28, 13
• 7. Why Not Double Dispatch? • Left-ﬁrst asymmetry (v value, n number): • v + n ==> v.add(n) • n + v ==> v.radd(n) • Anti-modular: exhaustive other-operand type enumeration required in operator method bodies • Consequent loss of compositionality: complex and rational cannot be composed to make ratplex without modifying source or wrapping in proxies Sunday, July 28, 13
• 8. Cacheable Multimethods • Proposed in 2009 by Christian Plesner Hansen (Google) in es-discuss • Avoids double-dispatch drawbacks from last slide: binary operators implemented by 2-ary functions for each pair of types • Supports PIC optimizations (Christian was on theV8 team) • Background reading: [Chambers 1992] Sunday, July 28, 13
• 9. Binary Operator Example • For the expression v + u • Let p = v.[[Get]](@@ADD) • If p is not an Array, throw a TypeError • Let q = u.[[Get]](@@ADD_R) • If q is not an Array, throw a TypeError • Let r = p intersect q • If r.length != 1 throw a TypeError • Let f = r[0]; if f is not a function, throw • Evaluate f(v, u) and return the result Sunday, July 28, 13
• 10. API Idea from CPH 2009 function addPointAndNumber(a, b) { return Point(a.x + b, a.y + b); } Function.defineOperator('+', addPointAndNumber, Point, Number); function addNumberAndPoint(a, b) { return Point(a + b.x, a + b.y); } Function.defineOperator('+', addNumberAndPoint, Number, Point); function addPoints(a, b) { return Point(a.x + b.x, a.y + b.y); } Function.defineOperator('+', addPoints, Point, Point); Sunday, July 28, 13
• 11. Literal Syntax • int64(0) ==> 0L // as in C# • uint64(0) ==> 0UL // as in C# • float32(0) ==> 0f // as in C# • bignum(0) ==> 0I // as in F# • decimal(0) ==> 0m // or M, C/F# • We want a syntax extension mechanism, but declarative not runtime API • This suggests declarative syntax for operator deﬁnition -- and scoped usage too Sunday, July 28, 13
• 12. To new or not to new? • new connotes reference type semantics, heap allocation, mutability by default (that’s JS!) • Proposal: new int64(42) throws (for any scalar or “non-aggregate” value object) • Option: new Float32x4(a,b,c,d) makes a mutable 4-vector, but calling Float32x4(...) without new means observably immutable, so even stack allocatable (important to enable) • Alternative: always immutable, but then why allow new instead of call to “create a value” Sunday, July 28, 13
• 13. typeof travails and travesties • Invariant -- these two imply each other in JS: •typeof x == typeof y && x == y •x === y •0m == 0 && 0L == 0 means 0m == 0L (transitivity), but 0m !== 0L (different precision and radix) so typeof 0m != typeof 0L per the invariant • Usability favors typeof 0L == “int64” and typeof 0m == “decimal” anyway • Making typeof extensible requires a per-realm registry with throw-on-conﬂict Sunday, July 28, 13
• 14. 25 July 2013 TC39 Resolutions • Waldemar points out that NaN requires separately overloadable <= and < [Slide 5] • Intersection means function identity matters, so multimethods can break cross-realm [Slide 9] • Mark objects that I as bignum sufﬁx conﬂicts with complex [Slide 11] • Always throw on new -- value objects are never mutable and should not appear to be so, even if aggregate [Slide 12] • Need to work through any side channel hazard of the typeof registry [Slide 13] Sunday, July 28, 13