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Re: ECMA TC 39 / W3C HTML and WebApps WG coordination

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 05:38:08 -0400
Message-ID: <4ABC8F80.1060106@intertwingly.net>
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
CC: Yehuda Katz <wycats@gmail.com>, Brendan Eich <brendan@mozilla.com>, public-webapps@w3.org, HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>, es-discuss <es-discuss@mozilla.org>
Maciej Stachowiak wrote:
> 
> On Sep 24, 2009, at 5:44 PM, Yehuda Katz wrote:
> 
>> That sounds reasonable. There are really two issues. One is that there 
>> are parts of WebIDL that are unused. Another is that the parts of the 
>> spec themselves are fairly arcane and very implementor-specific. Consider:
>>
>> interface UndoManager {
>>   readonly attribute unsigned long length;
>>   getter any item(in unsigned long index);
>>   readonly attribute unsigned long position;
>>   unsigned long add(in any data, in DOMString title);
>>   void remove(in unsigned long index);
>>   void clearUndo();
>>   void clearRedo();
>> };
>>
>> I almost forget that I'm looking at something most widely implemented 
>> in a dynamic language when I look at that. Since this is most likely 
>> to be implemented in terms of ECMAScript, why not provide an 
>> ECMAScript reference implementation?
> 
> These methods do things that can't actually be implemented in pure 
> ECMAScript, since they need to tie into the browser implementation and 
> system APIs. So a reference implementation in ECMAScript is not possible.

I'll accept that it is a true statement that in an pure ECMAScript 
implementation of these interfaces in Safari on Mac OSX such wouldn't be 
possible.

Alternate perspective, one that I believe more closely matches the view 
of TC39: one could image an operating system and browser implemented in 
either in ECMAScript or in a secure subset thereof.  In such an 
environment it would be highly unfortunate if the the WebIDL for 
something as important as HTML5 and WebApps were written in such a way 
as to preclude the creation of a conforming ECMAScript implementation.

At this point, I'm not personally interested in discussions as to 
whether WebIDL is or is not the right way forward.  Anybody who wishes 
to invest their time in producing more useful documentation and/or 
reference implementations is not only welcome to do so, they are 
positively encouraged to do so.

Meanwhile, what we need is concrete bug reports of specific instances 
where the existing WebIDL description of key interfaces is done in a way 
that precludes a pure ECMAScript implementation of the function.

- Sam Ruby
Received on Friday, 25 September 2009 09:38:57 GMT

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