ECMAScript - A Taste from ES2019 (ES10)

December 15, 2018 4 min read ECMAScript

Let's explore four new minor features that were approved by the TC39 committee and are going to be part of the ECMAScript 2019 specification.

Every year, a new version of ECMAScript is released with the proposals which are officially ready. This means, that the proposals which have been accepted and reached stage 4 by the TC39 committee would be included in the specification of that year (assuming it hasn’t been published), and the others - are postponed to the next year.

What that’s mentioned above is a part of the TC39 process - which is responsible to make changes and add features to the ECMAScript specification.

The stages of TC39 process

The stages of TC39 process

So, here we go - the approved proposals for 2019, as of today.

Note: In case you haven’t tasted the features of 2018 yet - go over it here.

Update: There are additional proposals which have been approved (check out the specified list below).

Approved Proposals

Just to clarify, these are the proposals that have been reached stage 4.

Optional Catch Binding

Until this proposal, the specification forced us to bind an exception variable for the catch clause whether it’s necessary or not:

Sometimes, as we see above, the exception variable that’s bound to the catch clause is absolutely redundant.

The proposal enables us to simply omit the variable including the parenthesis in such cases:

Subsume JSON

According to ECMAScript specification, an ECMAScript JSON is a superset of JSON, by all means:

After parsing, JSON objects are realized as ECMAScript objects. JSON arrays are realized as ECMAScript Array instances. JSON strings, numbers, booleans, and null are realized as ECMAScript strings, Numbers, Booleans, and null (source).

But in practice, that’s not entirely true. Whereas JSON strings accepts unescaped U+2028 and U+2029 characters, ECMAScript strings don’t accept:

Note: U+2028 represents LINE SEPARATOR and U+2029 represents PARAGRAPH SEPARATOR.

In simple words, this means there’s an inconsistency between valid JSON String and valid ECMAScript String, which could lead to potential bugs and specific handling in order to patch these gaps.

The proposed solution extends the ECMAScript strings so these will accept U+2028 and U+2029.

Symbol Description Accessor

During the creation of a Symbol, it’s possible to specify a description which could be used later for debugging. In case we want to access the specified description, for instance, to reconstruct the symbol or just to log it - we’ve to extract it indirectly out of the toString value. 😕

The proposed solution adds a new read-only property, called description, which returns the optional description of a Symbol:

Function “toString” Revision

As we know, the toString method of a Function object doesn’t inherit directly from Object.prototype.toString, but overrides it.

For example:

In ES2015, when toString was invoked on a function - one of the following occurred:

  • It returned a string source code representation of the function, depending on the ECMAScript engine.
  • In case the engine couldn’t produce a valid source code string - it returned an eval string that would throw a SyntaxError exception.

The proposed solution distinguishes between the following cases in order to determine the result of toString:

  • In case that’s a user-defined function object, which means, part of the source code - it returns a string containing the code which was used to define the function.
  • In case that’s a built-in function object or bound function object (a function which is created by bind method) - it returns a NativeFunction string.
  • In case that’s a callable function object which isn’t user-defined - it returns a NativeFunction string.
  • In case that’s a dynamically generated function object, through the Function and GeneratorFunction constructors - it returns a synthesized string of the appropriate code, which is created by the ECMAScript engine.
  • In all other cases, it throws a TypeError exception.

Let’s demonstrate each case:

Update: Additional Proposals

These are the proposals that have been reached stage 4, after this article was published:

Upcoming Proposals

These are the proposals that have been reached stage 3 and probably will be included in the specification - right after these will be approved completely.

Here’s attached a list for the proposals in this stage:

Summary

We covered today all the proposed which have been approved, at present, and will be included as part of the ECMAScript 2019 specification.

Take a look at the examples:

The sample project is available here.