• Provide a shorthand for object initialisers whose property keys are initialized by variables of the same name.
    • Example longhand: function f(x, y) { return {x: x, y: y}; }
    • Example shorthand: function f(x, y) { return {x, y}; }
  • Reversibility or symmetry with the destructuring shorthand object patterns.


Without switching to a different and more powerful specification parser, e.g. GLR, the destructuring shorthand already accepted requires that “right-hand side expressions” contexts support this structuring shorthand. The same PrimaryExpression : ArrayLiteral or ObjectLiteral production is used on both left and right of assignment.


  • JS1.8.1+ (SpiderMonkey and Rhino) support {x, y} in an expression context as shorthand for {x: x, y: y}.


  • Extend the PropertyAssignment production in ES5 as follows (the first right-hand side is new):
    PropertyName : AssignmentExpression
    get PropertyName ( ) { FunctionBody }
    set PropertyName ( PropertySetParameterList ) { FunctionBody }

The production PropertyAssignment : Identifier is evaluated as follows:

  1. Let propName be the String value containing the same sequence of characters as the Identifier.
  2. Let exprValue be the result of evaluating Identifier as a PrimaryExpression (per 10.3.1, Identifier Resolution).
  3. Let propValue be GetValue(exprValue).
  4. Let desc be the Property Descriptor {[[Value]]: propValue, [[Writable]]: true, [[Enumerable]]: true, [[Configurable]]: true}.
  5. Return Property Identifier (propName, desc).

Relation to other extensions

The Identifier form of PropertyAssignment could be integrated with other object literal extensions including var, const, method and private. However, it isn’t obvious that the use cases for this form significantly overlap with the use cases for the other extensions. It may be better to simply keep the form specified here as is without the complexity of integrating it with the other extensions. — Allen Wirfs-Brock 2010/09/08 05:26


How about allowing IdentifierName (”.” IdentifierName)* as a shorthand just like C# allows:

var object = {b.c.d};

as a shorthand for:

var object = {d: b.c.d};

Erik Arvidsson 2011/04/28 17:42

First I’ve heard of this RFE. It’s unambiguous but I wonder how much it is worth its (small but non-trivial) weight. If you are creating a near-clone of another object (b.c in the example), then some kind of functional record update might pay off better. A way of saying b.c with {e: 42} and possibly without {a}.

Brendan Eich 2011/05/01 21:25

I think we need to change from IdentifierName to Identifier since even though we could allow keywords here it makes little sense. What would the following do?

var object = {var}

Also, would it be worth allowing strings and numbers?

var x = 42
var object = {0, 'a', x}

as shorthand for

var x = 42
var object = {0: 0, 'a': 'a', x: x}

I can see strings being useful in code that uses objects as enums but it is mostly for symmetry.

Erik Arvidsson 2011/05/06 02:53

Good point about IdentifierName – I changed to Identifier. SpiderMonkey (and probably Rhino, I haven’t tested) will need fixing.

I do not understand how string and number property names would work. Even in global code, var does not bind properties in Harmony (no global object as scope). I say: YAGNI and too complicated, when in doubt leave it out.

Brendan Eich 2011/05/11 21:22

Here’s an alternate RHS expansion which is equally consistent with the LHS expansion, but potentially more useful:

  { x, y }

as shorthand for

    get x()  { return x; },
    set x(n) { x = n; },
    get y()  { return y; },
    set y(n) { y = n; }

As a related alternate, keep the current expansion of { x, y } but have this alternate expansion instead be the expansion of

  { &x, &y }

For old C programmers, this may suggest that the resulting object provides both the ability to read and to set x’s and y’s current value, whereas without the “&” we’re just snapshotting its value as of the time the object literal is evaluated.

My preference is the first of these possibilities: To give the simple { x, y } this alternate, more useful expansion.

Mark S. Miller 2011/10/10

strawman/object_initialiser_shorthand.txt · Last modified: 2011/10/10 18:55 by markm
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