Infrequently Noted

Alex Russell on browsers, standards, and the process of progress.

JS 1.8 Function Expressions: The Opposite of "Good"

JavaScript is crying out for a way to write functions more tersely. I've added my suggestion to the debate, and was vaguely aware that Mozilla had implemented "function expressions". It wasn't until I saw their use in the (excellent) ProtoVis examples that I realized how stomach-churningly bad the syntax for them is. Instead of dropping the word function from the declaration of lambdas, they kill the { } charachters, leaving the big visual turd at the front of the lambda while simultaneously omitting the symmetrical visual aid that allows programmers to more easily spot missing terminators.


It'd be one thing of the feature saved enough effort (typing) to justify the confusion, but it doesn't. Bitter syntactic sugar in a language that's already complicated by whitespace issues should be avoided.