(Also see the discussion page for this proposal.)

Resurrected eval


The situation with eval is that 3rd Edition allows the implementation to prohibit it in genuinely useful and unproblematic situations. We want to fix that.


As in the 3rd edition, eval is defined as a method on the global object. Each global object has a distinguished eval function that is tied to that global object.

eval as a function

If a variable reference eval references the eval property on the global object that’s the base object for the reference, and the eval property has its original value, and the variable reference is used as the MemberExpression on a CallExpression, as in


then the result shall be that the argument s is evaluated in the normal way (ES3

eval as a method on the global object

If a property reference o.eval references the eval property on a global object o, and the eval property has its original value, and the property reference is used as the MemberExpression on a MethodCallExpression, as in


then the result shall be that the argument s is evaluated in the normal way in the context of that global object only.

Testing IE7 shows that it does not substitute o for the dynamic scope. Copy javascript:x=”global”;(function(x,s){return window.eval(s)})(”param”,”x”) into the address toolbar and you’ll see “param” as the text of the generated document, not “global”. Removing the window. does not change this behavior. So IE JScript is not prepending window to the eval caller’s scope chain to get a scope chain for the evaled program.

Brendan Eich 2007/05/30 16:50

Further testing with two HTML files, one loaded in an iframe in the other, reveals that IE does use the indirecting object to find a dynamic scope, which if nothing is active on that global object will be the object itself. Thus window.eval(s) in a function scoped by window is equivalent to eval(s). otherWindow.eval(s) uses otherWindow as scope, but if this call is from a function scoped by otherWindow, that function’s dynamic scope is used, as in the single-window case (that dynamic scope chain ends in otherWindow).

Brendan Eich 2007/05/30 17:33

Restrictions on eval

Every other use of the original value of the eval property apart from just passing it around is an error, and the implementation shall throw an EvalError if the eval function is called in any other context than the ones that are specified above.

Lars T Hansen 2006/09/21 09:56

We more recently agreed to make use strict change eval such that it cannot create bindings in its dynamic scope that shadow outer bindings, subverting type checking. So a program such as

    use strict;
    eval("var x = 42");

results in a run-time error, and so would const or a function – only let bindings may be used in such a restricted eval.

Brendan Eich 2007/05/30 16:28


The committee has approved this proposal but admits that a few issues remain, notably the scoping issues around window.eval. These will be worked out in the spec, not here.

Lars T Hansen 2007/09/11 20:02

proposals/resurrected_eval.txt · Last modified: 2007/09/11 20:03 by lars
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