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Re: "negative count" and unsigned counts

From: Johnny Stenback <jst@w3c.jstenback.com>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 11:36:55 -0700
Message-ID: <3F6B4CC7.1000501@w3c.jstenback.com>
To: Darin Adler <darin@apple.com>
Cc: www-dom@w3.org, intrigue@group.apple.com

I agree completely, IMO the DOM spec is broken and should not talk about 
throwing exceptions in impossible situations. We've run into this in 
Mozilla too (it just so happens that a Mozilla developer asked me about 
this same issue yesterday), and we can (and probably will) make our 
binding layer throw an exception if a negative value is passed as an 
unsigned type, but that exception will absolutely *not* be a DOM exception.

Darin Adler wrote:
> (The previous version had some confusing typos; this is a corrected 
> message.)
> Consider the interface CharacterData from DOM Level 1. The method 
> deleteData has an unsigned long parameter named count. The technical 
> report says that if the specified count is negative the exception 
> INDEX_SIZE_ERR should be raised. But since count is an unsigned long, it 
> makes no sense to say an exception should be raised if the count is 
> negative; an unsigned long can't be negative.
> In practice, this creates a problem for language binding implementors. 
> For example, the W3C DOM test suite has an ECMAScript test that attempts 
> to pass a negative number to deleteData, and expects INDEX_SIZE_ERR. But 
> conceptually, it's the ECMAScript DOM language binding that is going to 
> encounter the need to convert the negative number to an unsigned long, 
> and I think it may be unreasonable to expect the language binding to 
> know that it should raise a DOMException INDEX_SIZE_ERR in this case, 
> since the process of converting argument types shouldn't be required to 
> know details of individual DOM methods.
> I was unable to find any standard that defines what should happen to 
> values of inappropriate types that are passed through a language 
> binding. I expect that's outside the scope of the DOM technical report.
> There's definitely a problem here, but I'm not sure what can be done to 
> the DOM technical report to fix this. Perhaps the idea of using unsigned 
> long as the type in the CharacterData interface is the problem; it's 
> certainly inconsistent to talk about a negative count if a count is an 
> unsigned long.
> This issue exists for the substringData, insertData, deleteData, and 
> replaceData methods of the interface CharacterData, and the splitText 
> method of the interface Text.
>     -- Darin

Received on Friday, 19 September 2003 14:37:31 UTC

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