Tom Insam

JavaScript strings - a followup

Having played around with the JavaScript string type some more, I think I understand why it acts as it does. I'm a Perl monkey normally, so I'm not used to the concept of immutable strings, but JavaScript strings are immutable. Playing with the === operator (approximately, 'is this the same object') gives:

js> "a" === "a";
js> "a" + "b" === "ab";
js> "ab".replace(/./, "c") === "cb";


js> new String("a") === new String("a");

If strings were to magically upgrade themselves to objects, they'd change behaviour - previously equivalent strings would suddenly not be equivalent. Likewise, suppose this worked:

var a = "string";
var b = "string";
a === b; # true = 1;

Shoud a still be equivalent to b? If not, a clearly isn't immutable, as we've changed it. But if it is, then we've chanaged b at a distance - it's grown a foo attribute.

Still all very annoying, of course, but I understand why now.