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Re: QSA, the problem with ":scope", and naming

From: Alex Russell <slightlyoff@google.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2011 15:08:22 +0100
Message-ID: <CANr5HFW2O8NL5q5LtWvMV5TpagQuwVeiX2JOH9GETyo8_tO=-g@mail.gmail.com>
To: Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au>
Cc: Webapps WG <public-webapps@w3.org>, Yehuda Katz <wycats@gmail.com>, John Resig <jeresig@gmail.com>, Paul Irish <paulirish@google.com>
On Wed, Oct 19, 2011 at 1:54 PM, Lachlan Hunt <lachlan.hunt@lachy.id.au> wrote:
> On 2011-10-18 18:42, Alex Russell wrote:
>> Related and equally important, that querySelector and querySelectorAll
>> are often referred to by the abbreviation "QSA" suggests that its name
>> is bloated and improved versions should have shorter names.
> I know the names suck.  The names we ended up with certainly weren't the
> first choice of names we were going for, but sadly ended up with after a
> long drawn out naming debate and a misguided consensus poll to override what
> should have been an editorial decision.  So, if we do introduce new methods,
> personally I'd be happy to use sensible names for any them, if the rest of
> the group will allow it this time.

It should *still* be an editorial decision. Shorter is better. This is
well-trod ground. We have plenty of evidence for what JS devs really
want. Lets get on with it.

>> I therefore believe that this group's current design for scoped
>> selection could be improved significantly. If I understand the latest
>> draft (http://www.w3.org/TR/selectors-api2/#the-scope-pseudo-class)
>> correctly, a scoped search for multiple elements would be written as:
>>    element.querySelectorAll(":scope>  div>  .thinger");
>> Both then name and the need to specify ":scope" are punitive to
>> readers and writers of this code. The selector is *obviously*
>> happening in relationship to "element" somehow. The only sane
>> relationship (from a modern JS hacker's perspective) is that it's
>> where our selector starts from.
> The current design is capable of handling many more use cases than the
> single use case that you are trying to optimise for here.

That's OK. I'm not stoning the current design. See below. I'm
suggesting we build on it and provide the API people are making heavy
use of today. This cow path deserves not just paving, but
streetlights, wide shoulders, and a bike lane.

>> Ah, but we don't need to care what CSS thinks of our DOM-only API. We
>> can live and let live by building on ":scope" and specifying find* as
>> syntactic sugar, defined as:
>>   HTMLDocument.prototype.find =
>>   HTMLElement.prototype.find = function(rootedSelector) {
>>      return this.querySelector(":scope " + rootedSelector);
>>    }
>>    HTMLDocument.prototype.findAll =
>>    HTMLElement.prototype.findAll = function(rootedSelector) {
>>      return this.querySelectorAll(":scope " + rootedSelector);
>>    }
> This is an incomplete way of dealing with the problem, as it doesn't
> correctly handle comma separated lists of selectors, so the parsing problem
> cannot be as trivial as prepending ":scope ".  It would also give a strange
> result if the author passed an empty string
>  findAll("");
>  ":scope " + "" => ":scope" => meaning to return itself.

Yes, yes. Pseudo-code. I snipped other code I posted to not handle
obvious corner cases to prevent posting eye-watering walls of code as
well. Happy to draft a longer/more-complete straw-man, but nobody's
*actually* going to implement it this way in any case. As an aside,
it's shocking how nit-picky and anti-collaborative this group is.

> In another email, you wrote:
>> The resolution I think is most natural is to split on "," and assume
>> that all selectors in the list are ":scope" prefixed and that.
> Simple string processing to split on "," is also ineffective as it doesn't
> correctly deal with commas within functional notation pseudo-classes,
> attribute selectors, etc.

See, again, subsequent follow-ups.

> I have attempted to address this problem before and the algorithm for
> parsing a *scoped selector string* (basically what you're calling a
> rootedSelector) existed in an old draft [1].
> That draft also allowed the flexibility of including an explicit :scope
> pseudo-class in the selector, which allows for conditional expressions to be
> built into the selector itself that can be used to check the state of the
> scope element or any of its ancestors.

We could accomodate that by looking at the passed selector and trying
to determine if it includes a ":scope" term. If so, avoid prefixing.
That'd allow this sort of flexibility for folks who want to write
things out long-hand or target the scope root in the selector,
possibly returning itself. I''d also support a resolution for this
sort of power-tool that forces people to use document.qsa("...",
scopeEl) to get at that sort of thing.

> (But that draft isn't perfect.  It has a few known bugs in the definition,
> including one that would also make it return the context node itself under
> certain circumstances where an explicit :scope selector is used.)
> [1]
> http://dev.w3.org/cvsweb/~checkout~/2006/webapi/selectors-api2/Overview.html?rev=1.29;content-type=text%2Fhtml#processing-selectors
Received on Wednesday, 19 October 2011 14:09:17 UTC

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