W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webrtc@w3.org > December 2011

Re: Remove numeric constants from WebRTC

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2011 07:45:58 -0800
Message-ID: <CAAWBYDCSOCDRCY2TcEBsYjhXD0KPJw51XMH=1hWTo=igG5p4XA@mail.gmail.com>
To: Harald Alvestrand <harald@alvestrand.no>
Cc: public-webrtc@w3.org, hta@google.com
On Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 7:48 PM, Harald Alvestrand <harald@alvestrand.no> wrote:
> On 12/20/2011 11:54 PM, Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>> There was no official resolution about this, as it's a style/design
>> thing, not an actual change in the spec.
>
> So (formalistically) how do observers know that this was the conclusion?
> I'd be happy to be pointed at an email in the archive of the WG saying "as
> WG chair, I conclude that this discussion resulted in....."

I'm not sure I understand - the fact that there's a note in the spec
means that the editor decided to put it there.

However, the bug that led to Cameron adding this text was
https://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=14878

>>   However, I can quickly list
>> the reasons why the decision was made:
>>
>> 1. Constants are more verbose than strings of the same name, as you
>> must repeat the name of the interface as well.
>> 2. Numeric constants can be passed in two ways to a function, and the
>> bad way (as integers) is much shorter, and thus often more attractive.
>> 3. Constants don't buy you anything over strings - strings can be
>> interned, etc.
>>
>> In general, experience shows that people usually forgo the named
>> constant and just use the numbers instead, which is the worst outcome
>> possible, as it makes the code very difficult to read and understand.
>> Since using strings instead has no real downsides, and avoids all of
>> the downsides of numeric constants, they are now the preferred way to
>> handle this sort of thing.
>
> I see the logic. The lack of enums in the language hurts again.
> I still miss the ability to document (for programmers) in WebIDL what the
> permitted values are; is there a comment convention for doing that at the
> moment?

Enums were just added yesterday, due to feedback on an unrelated bug.
^_^  http://dev.w3.org/2006/webapi/WebIDL/#idl-enums

~TJ
Received on Wednesday, 21 December 2011 15:46:52 UTC

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